Earthquake displaced of Kaule denied of returning to original village

Narayan Dhungana

The mud plastered on wall is peeling off; cleft bamboo used for the wall is decaying, and drips of rain reaches the hearth. As the tarpaulin sheet bought after borrowing money gets torn, leaky roof is making the floor soaked when it rains.

This bleak scene is a common sight of almost all families in the settlement of Jutpani Shaktikhor, Chitwan raised by those displaced from erstwhile Kaule VDC-8 after the mighty Gurkha earthquake three years back.

The people here have been desperately waiting for permanent settlement after they were displaced from the original Kaule village to be stationed at Shaktikhor.

Though the National Reconstruction Authority had said their village was risky in the beginning, they are now asked to return to their origin arguing it was safe.

Bal Bahadur BK, who had expected the construction of house on government’s assistance, wondered why the government asked them to return to the original village.

A total of 24 households were shifted to Shaktikhor by the local administration citing the risk in the Kaule after the mighty Earthquake of 2015.

The earthquake had damaged all houses of the village. An elderly person Subarna Maya BK had lost her life after a house crushed her in the earthquake.

The Disaster Management Committee had shifted the settlement, saying the settlement was at high risk of landslide.
A landslide victim Prem Bahadur BK said that the landslide had made huge cracks in farm land and the mountain suffered crevice due to the earthquake.

Now, all the earthquake victims have the stance that they would not return to provenance at any cost. Although they have knocked the doors of Bharatpur-based office of the NRA time and again, demanding their settlement with concrete building by the government, their demand has not been addressed yet.

Former Chief of NRA Project Management Office, Chitwan, Rajendra Karki, said that engineers had recommended Gochhibang (Kaule village) as a safe settlement.

However, the earthquake survivors have been enlisted in the list of beneficiaries where they can get Rs 300,000 grants provided by the government for house construction. Most of them have received Rs 50,000 as the first tranche and now would not get amount of second tranche as they have to lay foundation stone for a house to receive second tranche.

“We received the first tranche of the grant upon the advice that we should be entitled to Rs 300,000 given by the government to quake victims. Otherwise we would not have received the grant. We need a new house. Otherwise we will not leave the place,” said a quake victim Bal Bahadur BK.

Srimaya BK, 82, recounts how her husband’s second wife Subarna Maya was killed in front of her after being buried in the house collapsed by the quake. “How can I return to the same place where Subarna Maya was killed? We cannot leave this place whatsoever,” she insisted.

The total 24 families taking a temporary shelter here are surviving on various occupations like welding, electrical wiring and other menial jobs.

Although it was decided to relocate 102 families of quake victims in Chitwan, the process has been afoot to move only 52 due to various reasons, said Sujan Nepal, engineer for the district project implementation unit office under the Grant Management and Local Infrastructure in Chitwan. RSS

Published on 7 August 2018