Khanigaun settlement in Gorkha at risk of landslide, erosionContinuous soil erosion along the Dongsyang stream has put the settlement at great risk of being swept away.
Kanchha Kami, a resident of Khanigaun in Gorkha, is a worried man these days. After the Dongsyang stream changed its course towards his house, Kami fears that the land his house stands on might cave in any day now. Even his courtyard has developed cracks, he said.
Kami had constructed his house two years ago after his previous home was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. The housing reconstruction aid he had received was not sufficient, so he had to take a loan of Rs100,000 to complete his one-storey house.
Two years ago, the stream was quite a distance away from my house, Kami recalls. “The stream has cut into the embankment. There were many houses in front of my home when I began construction two years ago. But all of them were swept away, and now the stream is inching closer to my house,” said Kami. “We live in a constant threat of erosion.”
Out of the 113 houses built in the settlement post-earthquake, 58 families have already left.
Locals blame the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and other concerned authorities of failing to conduct a geological survey before building the settlement. Khanigaun, a mostly Gurung village, lost seven people and 70 cattle in the 2015 earthquake.
The Dongsyang stream started changing its course in July 2017, and is now headed towards the settlement. Punram Gurung, a local, said he has already built five houses since the earthquake destroyed his old home.
“Three houses were swept away by erosion whereas two others are on the verge of collapse,” said Gurung.
Continuous soil erosion along the Donsyang stream has also swept away part of the Yamgaun-Soti foot trail. The trail was the only path for the children in Khanigaun to reach Kalratri Secondary school in Lapu. With the foot trail now swept away, students have been facing difficulties going to school.
Tismaya Gurung, a local woman, says the children have been forced to make a perilous journey to reach school. “It’s been two years since the foot trail was swept away and this has affected our children’s studies. We have been requesting the local unit to build a suspension bridge where the foot trail previously was, but nobody paid heed to our requests.”
In February, a team of geologists from the National Reconstruction Authority conducted a survey in Khanigaun and verified that the settlement is at risk of landslides. The team had recommended the local unit to shift the entire village to Koldanda, which is 300 metres from Khanigaun.
Ram Sharan Acharya, chief at the District Project Implementation Office, said his office is waiting for the Cabinet to purchase land plots for the people of Khanigaun. “We plan to relocate the settlement to a safer location as soon as we get a decision from the Cabinet.”
Santosh Gurung, the chairperson of Dharche Rural Municipality, said, “Besides Koldanda, we are looking at other locations as well.”