MANMA, July 26: Some human settlements of Kalikot district near the Karnali River are reeling under high risks of flood and landslide.
Lalighat of Naraharinath rural municipality-1, Jitebazaar of Shuvakali rural municipality-1, Shantighat Bazaar of Sanni Triveni rural municipality, Padamghat of Mahabai rural municipality, Nagma Bazaar of Tilagufa municipality and Bhurabagar of Pachaljharana rural municipality are among the most vulnerable areas of the district.
The settlements along the Karnali Highway and Karnali Corridor are the new ones developed following the construction of the Highway.
Chairperson of Naraharinath rural municipality, Dhir Bahadur Bista said the settlements expanded after the construction of Karnali Highway and Karnali Corridor are now at high risks of flood and landslide.
"The bazaar near the Karnali River banks are being expanded with the pace of development,” he said, adding, "Earlier, there were no settlements near the river bank and risk factor was lesser."
He claimed that the expansion of new settlements along the river banks has resulted in higher risks and vulnerability of water-induced disasters.
Chairperson Bista further shared that those residing near the river side are denying their proposal to shift settlement to safer areas despite several efforts to that end.
"At least eight people lost their lives to floods and landslides in Lalighat in the year 2016,” he said, "Yet the people residing in high risk areas are not willing to relocate themselves to safer zones.”
Netra Bista, a local businessperson of Naraharinath-1, Lalighat, said market areas have been expanded near the river with the operation of transport service along the Karnali corridor. "The distance between Lalighat bazaar and the river bank was 25 meters. But, the flooded river since Sunday night has come closer to the bazaar areas."
If the water current continues unabated at the same level, it will surely put the market area at risk of inundation, he alarmed.
Bhurabagar bazaar of Pachaljharana rural municipality of Kalikot district is also passing through a high risk of flood and landslide, shared its chairperson Khadka Raj Sejuwal.
"We had approached vulnerable people several times to shift to the safer zone. But, they are not in a mood to listen to the proposal,” Sejuwal added.
Kalikot Chief District Officer Krishna Prasad Acharya said they had urged the authorities to relocate the disaster-prone and higher vulnerable settlements and bazaars of the district to secured areas.