GORKHA, June 12: Few days ago, seventy-two-year-old Laxman Ghale of Kashigaun-6 in Dharche Rural Municipality was seen carrying old corrugated zinc sheets uphill with great difficulty. He was taking those corrugates sheets from his shed to cover the roof of his new house which is currently under construction. The construction of the house is in its final stage but he has not been able to complete it due to lack of manpower.
"It's just one week of work and my house will be complete," said Laxman, adding, "Unfortunately, there are no workers as most of them have moved to the highlands for picking yarsagumba."
His son had completed half of the construction with the help of neighbors. Around 10/15 youths of the village used to gather and construct each other's houses turn by turn. But currently, those youths are in the hills of northern Gorkha and Manang."We must complete the construction before mid-July or we might have to lose our grant," said Laxman.
Families without youths capable of working had to hire workers paying huge wages. Prabina Ghale, ward member of Dharche-3, has paced up the construction of her house due to the fear of losing grant.
"It's hard to find workers now but fortunately I have convinced some of the women to work for me promising to work for them in return," said Prabina. She says children and women were involved in carrying stones for her house. She has also deployed some workers of Ramechhap. "Every day, I have to give Rs 1,200 to each worker excluding lunch and meal," she said.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has set the deadline for mid-July for the completion of the house. Most of the youths have gone for picking yarsagumba, a prized herb known for its aphrodisiac property, to pay the loan taken for the construction of their house.
But the elderly people fear of losing the grant at the expense of earning money from selling yarsagumba.
"We have to pay a huge amount of money for the construction materials," said a local Rajin Sunar. Most of the victims are under illusion that the government will not offer grant if they build houses having more than two rooms.
"Many quake victims have two houses. They have been living in their own quake damaged houses after some repair works but at the same time they have been constructing another house for the sake of receiving government grant," said Rajin.