Winter affects Musahar families in RautahatTwenty-five Musahar families at Chetnagar in Chandrapur Municipality-9, Rautahat, have been taking shelter in roofless homes after their houses, which were getting constructed under the People’s Housing Programme (PHP), were left incomplete around seven months ago.
Twenty-five Musahar families at Chetnagar in Chandrapur Municipality-9, Rautahat, have been taking shelter in roofless homes after their houses, which were getting constructed under the People’s Housing Programme (PHP), were left incomplete around seven months ago.
The PHP had started the construction of 25 houses in the settlement around two years ago. The beneficiaries had torn down their poorly built huts in the hopes of getting concrete buildings, but the houses still remain incomplete, leaving the families stranded without a proper shelter in this cold weather.
The 25 families, who have been staying at their under-constructed homes with no roofs, have been hit hard with the onset of winter.
Kishun Musahar, one of the beneficiaries, said he and his family are taking shelter at his neighbour’s house after his father, Lal Gobin, died of cold-borne diseases.
“Father suffered from flu and asthma from sleeping in the roofless house. He died of cold a week ago,” said Kishun. “We now take shelter at a neighbour’s house, fearing that other members could also get affected by the cold.”
Temperatures in Tarai have dipped sharply in the past
one week, which has particularly affected the impoverished families like the Musahars who do not have well insulated houses and sufficient clothes.
The Musahar families have expressed their anger towards the government and the people’s representatives for ignoring their problems.
“Our huts were flimsy but at least they gave us some measure of protection from this cold. Now, with out huts torn down and with no proper shelter, we have to struggle to pass the winter,” said Rekha Majhi, a local.
According to Majhi, postpartum mothers, pregnant women, children and elderly have been hard hit by the negligence of the PHP.
Bachchu Sah, member of the District Coordination Committee, has demanded the authorities concerned to complete the construction at the earliest.
The PHP was launched in the district two years ago to provide housing facility to the poor and marginalised people. Each family would get a house with a kitchen, two rooms and a toilet under the programme. The beneficiaries are required to donate labour worth at least 10 percent of the total cost of the house.
Meanwhile, Shyam Kishwor Singh, chief at the Intensive Urban and Building Construction Project in Birgunj, said the PHP was halted due to the lack of budget.
“The centre has allocated the required budget to the provincial government. The province is preparing to make necessary plans and polices to resume the project,” he said.