GORKHA, Aug 22: Reconstruction work in northern Gorkha is moving at a snail's pace. Especially settlements of Chumnubri Rural Municipality are suffering from the slow pace of reconstruction. Not even one-third of the reconstruction work has been completed in the seven former village development committees which now lie in the rural municipality.
In Sardibas, only 82 of the total 631 beneficiaries of the reconstruction grant have taken the third or final tranche of the grant. Likewise, only 18 beneficiaries of Prok village in Chumnubri have received the third tranche of the grant.
These figures are very less compared to the settlements of the lower area. Difficulties in transporting construction materials have been the major setback in the reconstruction work in the mountainous villages, according to Dhan Bahadur Gurung of Chumnubri.
“If we construct houses with mud and stone, they are weak and have short lifespans. As we desire more durable houses, we try to transport rods and cement,” he said. “But the transportation cost is very high due to the remoteness of our village. Shortage of skilled manpower is another major reason behind the delay.”Northern Gorkha has very few youths left in the villages. Likewise, only a few people there have the skills to build quake-resistant houses. Laborers of other districts are there to help, but they are expensive due to the remoteness of the location.
Former village development committees Chekampar and Samagaun are other northern settlements which border with Tibet. Only 10 of the total 271 beneficiaries of Chekampar have received the final tranche of the grant. This figure for Samagaun is 11 out of 244.
According to locals, the cost of transporting just one sack of cement is Rs 3,500. “We have to depend on mules for transportation, which is a very expensive medium. Likewise, there is a huge scarcity of the human resource to construct quake-resistant houses,” said Suman Gurung of Sirdibas.
Three years after the 2015 catastrophic earthquake, only around half of the reconstruction work has been completed in Gorkha. Out of the total 61,316 beneficiaries, only 30,230 have taken the third tranche of the grant.
So far, 58,517 beneficiaries have taken the first tranche of the grant while 48,650 have taken the second tranche. As the third tranche of the relief is for the roofing of the house, it is considered that those who have taken the third tranche have completed their house construction.