DHADING, Feb 28: Even as winter is finally nearing its end, earthquake victims without homes are not yet breathing any sigh of relief. Those without shelter are already starting to worry about the next monsoon season. Seeing no other way out of their predicament, quake victims in Dhading district are constructing their homes with private loans in addition to the government's reconstruction grants.
Tired of living under flimsy tents and in makeshift shelters, quake victims in the district are determined to have permanent housing before the monsoon rains return. Many of them have taken out private loans to that end. While many victims are now in the process of constructing their homes, some have already completed the construction.
Dhan Bahadur Ghale of Netrawati Rural Municipality-4 is one of the quake victims. He recently gave the finishing touches to his two-room, one-storey stone house. He had started the construction with a Rs 50,000 reconstruction grant from the government. He eventually got the second tranche of the grant also. But it was insufficient.
“I managed loans totaling Rs 150,000 from neighbors and completed the construction,” he said. “We spent the past three years in a makeshift tent. Now we finally have our own house,” he added. Ghale spent a total of Rs 400,000, including Rs 150,000 in loans to complete the construction.
Ghale has an 11-member family. His children stay elsewhere so that they can pursue their studies. “Whenever the children came back home for the festivals, there wouldn't be enough space for everyone to sleep inside the makeshift shelter,” he recalled. Now that his new house is ready, he plans to start repaying the loans.
Iman Gurung of upper Ghormu has also completed his house. He added Rs 200,000 in loans to the government's reconstruction grant for completing the construction.
“There is a cost-friendly method to build but we feared that the government might not approve the design. We followed the government-recommended design and ran out of money; so we had to seek the loan,” he said.
He complained about the high cost of labor, construction materials and transportation.
Constructing their new houses has left many quake victims in debt. They are clueless how to repay the loans.
According to the National Reconstruction Authority, a total of 18,940 quake victims in the district have completed their reconstruction with the government's housing grants. The construction of another 3,166 houses is ongoing.