The Kathmandu Post, 2 July 2017
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) is all set to begin construction of the first integrated settlement in Selang, Sindhupalchok, one of the districts worst hit by the 2015 earthquake.
The agency mandated to carry out post-disaster reconstruction and rehabilitation works has stated that a committee formed to study the modality of shifting vulnerable settlements has recently submitted a report based on which the development of physical infrastructure would begin.
The maiden integrated settlement being led by the authority will be developed at Baskharka in Selang.
Quake survivors, who have been living in vulnerable areas of villages like Golchhe, Gumba, Pangtang, Batase and Selang will be shifted to the integrated settlement.
“We received the report from the expert committee last week. The process to construct an integrated settlement will begin in line with the recommendations made by the committee,” a source at the NRA said, adding that the authority will spend a considerable amount of time to hear the quake survivors out so that their concerns and aspirations could be fulfilled.
The NRA has said construction works will begin next fiscal year, but there is lack of clarity on the actual number of houses that will be built in the integrated settlement, as it is yet to identify the exact number of households that need to be relocated.
According to officials, once the number of households to be relocated is identified, locals will be given the option of moving to the new settlement or relocating themselves.
Those who wish to relocate on their own will be provided with Rs200,000 in addition to the housed aid of Rs300,000. “Households in vulnerable places having no other option than to shift will get the priority for moving to the integrated settlement,” the official said.
People who wish to move or are eligible to move to the integrated settlement will have to transfer ownership of land that lies in the vulnerable zone to the government. This will ensure human settlement is not built there in future.
The integrated settlement to be developed by the government will also have proper roads, drinking water, electricity, public toilet, health post, community building and schools among other facilities.
Apart from Sindhupalchok, the NRA has identified 112 settlements including Keraunja of Gorkha, Khalde of Rasuwa, Urleni of Nuwakot and Besimpa of Dolakha as the vulnerable zones.
The government in May had formed committees headed by chief district officers of the respective districts to shift the vulnerable settlements to new locations. The NRA says it has received reports from all committees in all the districts.
Meanwhile, the NRA has stated that the process of reconstruction has gathered pace in recent months with 580,071 households receiving the first instalment of housing reconstruction aid. The number of recipients of the second instalment stands at 34,937.
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, the government had decided to provide Rs200,000 per household as private housing aid, which was later increased to Rs300,000 to be issued in three instalments—Rs50,000, Rs150,000 and Rs100,000.