Local unit moves Musahar families to new settlement without basic amenitiesKankai Municipality has built 14 houses without road connectivity, power and water supply.
Kankai Municipality in Jhapa has built new houses for 14 families of the impoverished Musahar community who had been living at Tekra. The houses, however, lack basic amenities like electricity, drinking water and road connectivity, which has left the Musahar families to question the municipality’s move.
The families who had been living in thatched roof huts are pleased to have finally received proper homes. But they don't know how feasible it would be to live at a place with no road connectivity.
“The new homes are useless for us since there is no road to reach there. We have to walk through paddy fields to reach there,” said Durga Rishidev, one of the recipients of the new home. “It’s too far from every convenience. We raised our concern to the local government as well as other concerned authorities, but they didn’t listen to us.”
There is not even a foot trail to reach the new settlement. A narrow raised edge built to dam water in the paddy field is the only way to reach there.
“We have been asking the authorities to build a path at least to reach the settlement but they didn’t listen to us,” said Chandra Rishidev. “The local body and other concerned authorities went ahead with the construction of the new homes without thinking about the road connectivity.”
The Musahar families who received new homes from the local government, the local people in the area are reluctant to free their land for road construction.
“The villagers don’t want to leave their property for road construction and the municipality has also failed to convince them,” said Shova Rishidev, another recipient of a new home.
The local government said efforts were on to open a track connecting to the new Musahar settlement and to provide electricity.
“A road will be constructed soon. We are working on it,” said Gobind Paudel, the ward chairman of Kankai Municipality-4.
The other problem the families have to contend with in the new settlement is a lack of drinking water supply.
“We have to walk for more than half an hour and fetch drinking water from a community tap in the other village,” said Januka Rishidev. “We have serious problems with drinking water and water for sanitation. We don’t know how long we will be able to live in the new settlement without basic amenities.”
Although there are electricity poles erected a few months ago, there is no power supply in the settlement. “We are dependent on oil lamps. I don’t know for how long this is going to last,” said Durga Rishidev.
The construction of new homes for the Musahar families started in June and they were completed within a few months at a cost of Rs 2.8 million.
Around 80 people from 14 families have been staying in the new settlement. They eke out their living working in the agricultural land and work as daily earners.