Gorkha quake victims reluctant to retrofit their houses

Published On: September 7, 2019 08:03 AM NPT By: Narhari Sapkota

Most beneficiaries want to rebuild their homes

GORKHA, Sept 7: There are a total of 5,353 households identified as beneficiaries of the housing grant from among those included in the retrofitting in the district. Although 3,224 households among them have received Rs 50,000 as the first tranche of the housing grant, they have not claimed another Rs 50,000 as the second tranche of the grant.

While those not taking any grant for retrofitting have filed an application at the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) to provide them grant to build new homes, the number of those receiving grant for retrofitting but demanding now grant for building new homes is also equally high.

“There is not even one person who has received both installments of grant for housing and retrofitting in the district,” said Ram Sharan Acharya, head of District Project Implementation and Infrastructure Office.

Authorities had decided to provide Rs 100,000 for retrofitting to each house partially damaged in the earthquake. Many housing grant beneficiaries, however, are opting for building new houses in the lure of getting Rs 300,000 after authorities came up with the idea of retrofitting houses by reflecting the same old style.

“There were a total of 25 beneficiaries for retrofitting grant in the entire ward. Another 20 persons had applied for Rs 300,000 grant to build new homes. Five of them are not in contact,” said Ward Chairperson of Sulikot Rural Municipality-7 Krishna Bahadur Gurung.

Gurung said a lot of new houses are being built in the village to lead the villagers to believe that the retrofitting of old houses will not be as effective as building the new ones. This is the reason why the dates to complete the reconstruction process is being delayed.

In Gorkha, a majority of beneficiaries – 1,136 houses-- are from Gorkha Municipality, while there are 1,104 beneficiaries from Paalungtar. Among the 914 beneficiaries applying for retrofitting grants from Siraan Chowk Rural Municipality, only 538 beneficiaries have taken the first instalment.

Engineer Sunita Shrestha said retrofitting of old houses is more beneficial because the old designs of houses are slowly getting extinct. Also, the newly-built houses have a fewer rooms that cannot accommodate all members of a joint family or large family.

“Retrofitting is a new method of technology. It would be nice if we could retrofit a few houses for demonstration,” she said.

Retrofitting of old houses costs 75 percent less than building a new house.

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