Incomplete integrated model settlement handed over to impoverished familiesThe model settlement in Gramthan Rural Municipality, an open defecation-free local unit in Morang district, does not have any toilets.
Deo Narayan Sah
On Friday, Chief Minister of Province 1 Sherdhan Rai handed over an integrated model settlement without toilets to the impoverished households living in Gramthan Rural Municipality, an open defecation-free local unit of Morang district.
The settlement was handed over to the impoverished households before the completion of its construction works.
The settlement has been constructed on public land near Khadara stream in Ward No. 7 of Gramthan Rural Municipality with investment from the Tarai Madhesh Prosperity Programme, Local Infrastructure Development Programme and the rural municipality. Shiva Narayan Majhi, chairman of the rural municipality, said, “Out of an estimated 34 houses in the settlement, 32 have been constructed. Two other houses are under construction.”
The Tarai Madhesh Prosperity Programme had invested Rs 6.7 million, Local Infrastructure Development Programme had invested 11.9 million and Gramthan Rural Municipality had provided Rs 12.7 million for the programme.
“The total cost of the construction of the integrated model settlement is around Rs 30.4 million,” said Majhi. “The settlement has been handed over to the landless squatters staying near the Sunsari-Morang Irrigation Project.”
Amrita Mukhiya, a squatter living in the settlement for the last three months, said, “There are no toilets in the settlement. We have to defecate on the banks of Khadara stream. Children and senior citizens are risking their lives defecating in the stream every day.”
“The rural municipality has been declared an open defecation-free area. We are ashamed of using open space like that,” she said.
Meanwhile, the rural municipality Chairman Majhi said that there is a toilet in every house. “But those toilets are yet to be connected to the septic tanks. We will instruct the construction company to complete the construction works soon,” he said.
Phul Kumari Chaudhary, vice chairperson of the rural municipality, said, “We will immediately construct toilets and install tube wells for the landless squatters living in the settlement. We will also inspect the integrated model settlement and will take action according to the prevalent legal system if the works are found to be of substandard quality.”
Locals have also demanded fair investigation into the construction of the integrated model settlement.
“There’s a massive financial irregularity in the construction of the settlement. The concerned authorities should take action against the guilty after investigating the matter,” they say.