37 homes in a rural unit in Chitwan at high risk of landslides

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Out of fear of landslides, the locals have moved from their homes and are currently living in temporary shelters on encroached land near a forest.

Pratima Dhakal

As many as 37 homes are at high risk of landslides in Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality, in Chitwan district, but concerned authorities have taken little initiative to relocate the people, say locals.

Following the 2015 earthquakes, many areas in the district became susceptible to landslides. And despite it being more than four and a half years since the devastating incident, which claimed around 9,000 lives and displaced thousands of people in several districts, authorities have done little to relocate the people of Ichchhakamana, forcing them to live in constant fear.

Two years ago, a technical team of the District Project Implementation unit office of the National Reconstruction Authority had studied 19 settlements that were at risk of landslides. The team had recommended the shifting of 100 households of eight different settlements in Rapti and Kalika municipalities and Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality.

“Of the 100 households, we have relocated 62 to safe locations so far. Thirty-eight families, mostly from Ichchhakamana, are yet to be moved,” said Rajendra Karki, chief at the district unit office.

However, according to Karki, the entire rural municipality—which makes a total of 103 households—is demanding that the government relocate all of them. According to the locals, they are all at risk of landslides. Out of fear, they have even moved from their homes are currently living in temporary shelters on encroached land near a forest.

“We have repeatedly asked them to evacuate the forest land but they have refused. According to our research, only 37 families among them are actually at risk of landslides—not the others. We have even asked the 37 families to take the money from the office and shift to a safe location but they have refused,” said Karki. According to him, the families say that all 103 families should move together.

A total of 7,460 households have been enlisted on the list of beneficiaries in Chitwan district. Among them, 4,722 families have already received the third tranche of the housing reconstruction aid so far.