July 2, 2018 04:15 AM NPT
By: Daman Rai
KHOTANG, July 2: Shanta Bhujel, a quake victim of Lichkiramche, Khotehang Rural Municipality-9, constructed a house by seeking a loan of Rs 700,000. But it became a real trouble for her after the engineers from the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) asked her to build another house, arguing that her newly-built house was not as per the standards set by the government.
"Earlier, we were told that houses built without the use of rods will also be eligible for the housing grant," said Bhujel, adding, " But now the engineers are not ready to approve that. So we are in a problem now." After the completion of the new house, Bhujel's family was planning to move into it. But unfortunately, they have to gear up for the construction another house using metal rods so that they wont have to lose the grant.
"We built a new home, expecting help from the government but now we are helpless," said Bhujel. Ganga Bishwokarma of Lichkiramche is dealing with the same problem. Engineers of NRA urged her to rebuild his house saying it is not quake-resistant. "When we began constructing our house, we were told that it needs to be quake resistant no matter how we construct it," said Bishwokarma, adding, "But now, they are not ready to approve it." This has compelled him to build another house, halting works at the under-construction house.
The situation of Tilak Bahadur Bishworkarma and Chandra Bahadur Bishwokarma is no different. All quake victims were supposed to construct one house with the quake grant but due to the lack of awareness and counseling, they have been compelled to build two houses by spending more money. Gopi Rai, ward chief of Lichkiramche said that some victims have failed to build their houses as per the standards and design set by the government because of which they have been compelled to build two houses.
Locals lament that this is because of the failure of NRA to create enough awareness among the victims regarding the design and rules. Engineers and technicians deployed for reconstruction are mostly centered in market areas, says Ramesh Gaule, a local social activist. "There is a great weakness of NRA behind this problem," said Gaule, adding, "I wonder who will help these victims to build another house."
There are altogether 8,443 quake victim families in Khotang among which 8,173 have received the first tranche. Some of them have also got the second tranche.