A Ramechhap settlement at risk of landslidesThe residents of Keurini Birta in Likhu Tamakoshi Rural Municipality complain that the authorities concerned are indifferent to their problem.
Dipak Shrestha is in great dilemma—whether to complete work on his under-construction house or not. The resident of Keurini Birta in Likhu Tamakoshi Rural Municipality-6, Ramechhap lost his house during the 2015 earthquake. He started rebuilding his house under the government’s housing construction aid only a few months ago but before he could finish work, the land his house stands on has started caving in.
"The entire settlement is at risk of landslides. I had no other option but to rebuild my house here as I have no land elsewhere. But now, my house is again at risk of collapsing,” Shrestha said.
Not only Shrestha’s but the majority of houses in his settlement have developed cracks.
“The land surrounding our settlement has started caving in. We are compelled to live here since we have nowhere else to go,” said Ganesh Bahadur Shrestha, another villager.
There are 40 families at Keurini Birta in Khimti. In 1994, a massive landslide struck the village, and the landslide still continues, mainly in the rainy season, villagers say.
“The authorities concerned have not done anything to control the landslide and protect the villagers. We don't know when the whole village will perish in the landslide,” said Durga Bahadur Shrestha, another local resident.
The villagers complain that the local unit as well as other concerned stakeholders are indifferent to their situation. Six villagers have already left the settlement and shifted to safer locations due to the constant fear of landslides. But the majority of the villagers are waiting for the government to relocate them to safer locations.
According to them, the District Natural Disaster Management Committee is well aware about the landslide threat at Keurini Birta but is yet to take any initiatives to either control the landslides or shift the villagers to a safer location.
On Friday, Chief District Officer Dipak Kumar Pahadi, who is also the chief of the District Natural Disaster Management Committee, visited the landslide-affected village of Keurini Birta. Upon seeing the sunken land in the settlement, Pahadi urged the people's representatives to find a safe area for the villagers’ relocation.
“The settlement is at high risk of landslides. The villagers should be shifted to a safer location at the earliest,” said Pahadi, stating that the District Natural Disaster Management Committee would provide its support in the resettlement.
Meanwhile, the local unit claims that efforts are underway to find a suitable place for the villagers’ relocation.
“The local government has prioritised the relocation of the settlement, which is at high risk of landslides. We are searching for suitable land for the resettlement,” said Shiva Prasad Neupane, the ward chairman of Likhu Tamakoshi-6.