With no effort to contain it, the landslide in Ghyapche continues even during the winterWhen the flood from Ranajor River cut through the village, the locals were further exposed to danger.
The Ghyapche cliff, which separates Ward No 3 and 4 of Manthali Municipality in Ramechhap, sees regular landslide even during the winter.
Ram Bahadur Magar, a local, said that landslides occur even during the dry season; they give away at the slightest tremor and hard winds.
Ghyapche is Ramechhap’s oldest known landslide-prone area which has so far displaced 70 households in Gairhathok, the village below Ghyapche. Many houses remain at risk while many acres of land have been rendered barren.
The quakes of 2015 rendered numerous people in Gaihrathok homeless. The local units had decided it would provide Rs200,000 to each household as compensation, but so far, only four families have managed land to move to. The rest continue to live at risk of landslides. When the flood from Ranajor River cut through the village, the locals were further exposed to danger.
According to Magar, the first known landslide in Gyapche occurred in 1961. “The landslide has continued ever since,” Magar said. So far, landslides have claimed about 800sq km of land and they are expanding by the year. The landslides have put not only the Gairhathok village at risk but also the neighbouring villages of Bijulikot and Kangwa.
“Mud and stones accumulated at the base of the hill are swept away by the river, and the debris covers the arable lands up to Manthali, the district headquarters,” said another local Mahesh Shrestha. “The river has gone out of control and the arable lands are being destroyed.”
Many political leaders have made the landslide of Ghyapche a token to win elections, said Shrestha. But the efforts to contain it have not been forthcoming. The Japanese agency JICA and other donor agencies had surveyed the area but none of the organisations has started work to contain the landslides.
Manthali Municipality Mayor Ramesh Kumar Basnet said that prevention measures would require a huge budget, the reason why the local unit hasn’t been able to devise a plan to contain the landslide.
“There’s no possibility that the landslide would come under control with our budget,” Basnet said. “But if we can control it, we can save hundreds of ropanis of arable land.”
The only effort to contain the landslide had come from the Department of Land Conservation. However, it came to a halt when a fresh landslide damaged and obstructed the work that was in progress. The department hasn’t returned since.