Province 3 government is building homes for impoverished Bote peopleThe assistance, however, falls short on providing livelihood solutions to the fishing community.
Under the Safe People’s Housing Programme, the Province 3 government is providing assistance to the impoverished Bote community residing in Makwanpur and Chitwan districts.
Five houses have already been completed while 9 other houses and a community building are under construction at Ramauli. The provincial executive released a budget of Rs 7 million under the programme.
“The provincial government has already started construction of the remaining nine houses. We will hand over the houses to the community immediately after the project completion,” said Ekraj Uprety, chief of the rural municipality.
Around 50 Bote families live in Ramauli area in the rural municipality. Among them, 14 families are landless. These families were relocated to Ramauli area from Parsa National Park six years ago. The families have been staying in poorly-built thatched-roof houses on the bank of a local stream since.
“We are impatiently waiting to shift to the newly built safe houses. We look forward to celebrating Dashain in our new homes next year; this year we will have to stay put here,” said Suresh Bote.
The government provided 10 kattha land to the displaced Bote families with each household receiving 10 dhurs to build a house.
However, the allocation of land and building of houses does not end the problems for this impoverished community as it relies on fishing in local rivers and rivulets, especially in the Rapti river, which flows through the Parsa National Park.
The park this year did not renew the licence for fishing for the Botes which has posed problems for the community. “We are very happy and thankful to the government for making our houses. But we are left with no means of making a livelihood,” said Bishnu Bote, urging the authorities concerned to allow the community to fish in the local rivers and rivulets. Stating that the park’s regulation allows the fishing licence only to Sonaha and Badi communities, the park authorities refused to renew the licence for fishing in the current fiscal year.
In Chitwan, Intensive Urban Development Office and Bharatpur Metropolitan City supported 22 poor Bote families to build their houses. They provided Rs 1.1 million for the project under the Safe People’s Housing Programme.
The authorities provided corrugated zinc sheets and steel rods equivalent to Rs50,000 to each household but the beneficiaries complained that the government’s aid is not sufficient to build the house. “They provided only zinc sheets and rods worth about Rs50,000. I spend around Rs500,000 to complete the house,” said Somlal Bote who constructed a three-room house under the programme.
(Pramita Dhakal contributed reporting from Bharatpur)