SINDHUPALCHOWK, Aug 11: Small and medium-sized houses with attractive designs and colorful zinc plate roofs have given the villages of Sindhupalchowk a new and beautiful look. Under-construction roads, drinking water taps, toilets in each home and well-managed electricity facility has made the villages look like cities.
As the catastrophic earthquake of 2015 reduced most of the houses to rubble, Sindhupalchowk, the most affected district had worn a deserted look. However, the survivors here have brought their lives back on track with their hard work and patience. With almost all houses standing tall and beautiful, the once quake-ravaged place now can be compared with a beautiful modern-day city.
"Sindhupalchowk has changed its appearance in these three years after the massive destruction," said Tanka Gautam, chief of the District Project Implementation Unit (DPIU). According to him, the whole district is in the final stage of reconstruction.
Gautam further informed that more than 75,000 households are involved in reconstruction work at the moment. As per the details provided by the unit, more than 44,000 quake victims have already shifted to new houses. But based on the distribution of third tranche of grant, project chief Gautam claimed that more than 50,000 houses have been reconstructed.
So far, 75,725 victims have received the second tranche of grant. The officials of the unit lament that they are unable to collect the exact details of the reconstructed houses due to lack of manpower. Surprisingly, continuous rainfall, landslides, manpower crunch, hike in the price of construction materials among other problems have not affected the reconstruction which has been intensified in the whole district.
With the addition beneficiaries not listed before, the number of quake victims has now climbed to 86,971 in the district. The deadly earthquake of 2015 had killed 3,570 people in Sindhupalchowk destroying 95% of houses. No one had ever imagined that a place, which had once turned into nothing but a pile of debris, would get resurrected again.
The reconstruction works, which had been halted for several reasons in the past, have reportedly picked up pace after the formation of the local government. Since most of the political parties had made reconstruction their main agenda in the election manifesto, they lived up to their promises by reaching the district headquarters along with the grievances of the victims after the elections.
Meanwhile, two wards of Balefi and Tripurasundari rural municipalities have completed the reconstruction works. Earlier, people living in the remote areas here had no access to road, drinking water, electricity and many other facilities. But now, they have all the modern facilities and this has been possible due to the ongoing reconstruction works.
The victims have not just made their houses earthquake resistant but lightening proof too. While some of the victims have used mud and wood, most of them have used bricks, cement and rod for the reconstruction of their houses.
Furthermore, a dozen of integrated settlements with modern urban infrastructures have also been built in the district. As the National Reconstruction Authority has urged the quake victims to receive the third tranche of the reconstruction grant by mid-January, DPIU chief Gautam expects reconstruction to take a huge leap after receiving the grant. "We are aiming to complete the reconstruction in Sindhupalchowk within one year," said Gautam.