Homes built by Dhurmus-Suntali handed over to flood victims
February 7, 2018 07:45 AM NPT
By: Madan Thakur
President Bidya Bhandari at the inauguration of the integrated settlement at Santapur, Rautahat. Photo: Madan Thakur/Republica
RAUTAHAT, Feb 7: “There was a time when we used to dream about owning a modern house, while visiting the cities,” said 106 years old Ramkaliya Devi, who has spent most of her life in a dilapidated hut. “We had never in our lives imagined that some day we would actually own such a house,” she added.
Last August, a large number of people in the tarai were battered by the severest floods in years. With all their homes inundated, the Dalit community in Santapur was left struggling in makeshift tents, without food and clothes. In September, acclaimed comedians Sitaram Kattel(Dhurmus) and his wife Kunjana Ghimire (Suntali) reached Santapur to distribute relief. The miserable condition of the victims broke their hearts, and they decided to build them houses.
Last month, the Dhurmus-Suntali Foundation astonished many when it completed the construction of an integrated settlement for the flood victims within just 100 days of the laying of the foundation stone. “They have provided us a house more beautiful than heaven,” said Ramkaliya.
Jodhi Thakur, 28, was also left helpless after the flood washed away all his earthly belongings. Tears roll down when he recalled the days after the flood. His family had to move in with neighbors.
“My grandfather used to dream that his grandson would one day build himself a beautiful home,” said Thakur, adding,” I could not do so, but Dhurmus-Suntali has finally fulfilled his dream. He must now be happy in heaven.”
Ramkaliya and Thakur are just representative cases. There were hundreds of others like them. Dhurmus-Suntali Foundation has provided houses to 47 flood-affected households in Santapur.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari, at a function on Tuesday, inaugurated the integrated Musahar settlement and handed over the key to chairperson of the settlement committee Satyanarayan Majhi. Appreciating the good work done by the acclaimed actor couple, the president said that this should be a lesson for many.
The integrated settlement has been built in an area of 12 kattha with a total investment of Rs. 5.9 million. It has more than 50 infrastructures including two storey houses with four rooms, a temple, a community building, a primary school, a park and a view tower. The Dhurmus-Suntali couple collected donations from various organizations through their public performances. Sadly, their foundation is yet to pay Rs. 70 million in loans incurred during the construction of the settlement, informed actor Kattel.
Despite that, the couple seemed really happy to hand over the settlement to the victims. They expressed their gratitude to the 261 laborers who worked night and day to complete the construction in 114 days.
Meanwhile, veteran comedians Madan Krishna Shrestha and Hari Bansha Acharya applauded the Dhurmus couple for fulfilling the dreams of so many. The inauguration was attended various other stakeholders also.