Local unit in Barpak provides work for jobless targeting Dashain festivalThe rural municipality has initiated ‘Employment Programme for Relief’ through all its ward offices.
Forty-year-old Himlal Baram, a native of Gorkha district, returned home from Malaysia in March amid growing health concerns during the times of Covid-19. Ever since his return, he had been staying idle at home until Barpak Sulikot Rural Municipality, where his village Dandagaon falls, initiated the Employment Programme for Relief.
The rural municipality initiated the two-week programme through its ward offices 10 days ago. In Ward No. 6, authorities have engaged the locals in a foot trail repair project, hence providing an opportunity for them to earn some money. In the remaining seven wards of the rural municipality, the locals have been deployed in similar projects such as repair and upgradation works of drain canals, foot trails and rural roads.
“I have run out of my savings and this programme has come at an opportune moment. I earn Rs 650 per day through this programme and by the end of 10 days, I will hopefully have enough money to be able to celebrate Dashain with my family,” said Baram.
The rural municipality has included labourers and impoverished individuals in the list of beneficiaries for the employment programme and has prepared a working guideline for the same.
On May 6, an executive meeting of the rural municipality had endorsed the working guideline to provide daily wages to the workers (beneficiaries) who received relief as part of the employment programme. Bishnu Bhatta, chairman of the rural municipality, said, “The programme was initiated to help impoverished families earn some money for the upcoming festival season. Most labourers and daily wage earners have been rendered jobless due to the pandemic. The programme was also initiated for migrant workers who have returned home from foreign employment and have no source of income left.”
Deep Kumari Gurung, a local of Ward No. 8, has been repairing the foot trail in her ward for the last two days and is happy with the opportunity that has come her way during these difficult times.
Krishna Bahadur Gurung, chairman of Ward No. 8, said his office did not have prior plans for the programme but followed through with the rural municipality’s decision since it would benefit the locals financially.
“The programme has been effective in helping locals earn money during the festive season. Repair works of foot trails, drain canals and rural roads were not included in our plan but we are happy we took part in the project. Aside from generating employment for the locals, the project has also beautified the villages,” he said.
According to Bhatta, around 500 jobless individuals have participated in the employment programme so far.
As a part of its effort to help impoverished families during the pandemic, the rural municipality in mid-April had distributed 25kgs of rice, two kgs of pulses, and one litre of cooking oil each to 650 impoverished families as relief.
The rural municipality has allocated Rs 2.7 million for the programme.
“Each ward has been allocated Rs 200,000 to Rs 300,000 depending on the need for the employment programme. We have also instructed all ward offices to select projects and beneficiaries with the aim to help people during the pandemic,” Chairman Bhatta said.
According to the working guideline of the project, heavy machines, including loaders, excavators and other equipment, cannot be used in infrastructure development projects. “We have prioritised using homemade tools and also requested technicians to oversee the ongoing development activities,” said Bhatta.