Kathmandu, September 15
With the rise in number of landslide occurrences in Sindhupalchowk this monsoon, the concerned government agencies have come together to discuss the issues of geographical study of vulnerable settlements, rehabilitation of landslide and flood victims and prepare plans to reduce risks in the coming days.
The representatives of the government agencies working on disaster risk reduction and management, soil conservation, housing and the people’s representatives from Sindhupalchowk and concerned experts participated in the virtual discussion today which was chaired by Sushil Gyewali, Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA).
The Cabinet meeting held on August 20 had entrusted the responsibilities of relocating vulnerable settlements affected by landslides and floods in different parts of the country to the NRA and the Ministry of Urban Development under the coordination of the Home Ministry.
After the discussion, a committee has been formed under the leadership of Anil Pokharel, Chief Executive Officer of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) to prepare a work plan to rehabilitate and relocate landslide victims in Sindhupalchowk which has been badly affected this monsoon.
The members in the committee are concerned Joint Secretary of the NRA, Deputy Director General (DDG) of the Department of Irrigation (DoI), DDG of the Department of Forest and Soil Conservation (DFSC), DDG of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC), DDG of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DoHM), concerned Joint Secretary of the NDRRMA, Chief of Sindhupalchowk District Coordination Committee (DCC), representative of the concerned ministry of Bagmati Province and the Chief District Officer (CDO) of Sindhupalchowk.
The committee has been given 15 days to identify the vulnerable settlements and prepare plans to preserve other settlements. The committee will prepare work plan and work schedule of relocating the settlements after identifying safe places. It has also been asked to prepare plans for budget and its sources, necessary human resources, existing legal provisions and integrated technical directive. The committee will also recommend the work division among different levels of government. Besides, the committee will prepare the work plan to fulfill the overall responsibilities entrusted by the Cabinet.
The integrated work plan prepared by this committee will be presented at the executive committee meeting of the NDRRMA.
CEO of the NRA Sushil Gyewali said the discussion program was organized to have better coordination between various agencies involved in issues related to natural disasters.
Secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development Madhusudan Adhikari said it would be appropriate for the NDRRMA to coordinate between different government agencies and levels of government.
Chief of Sindhupalchowk DCC Gopal Tamang, Chair of Jugal Rural Municipality of the district Hom Narayan Shrestha and CDO of the district Umesh Prasad Dhakal informed the meeting about the losses made by disasters this monsoon and requested to mobilize a high-level technical team to identify the vulnerable settlements. They also informed that the District Disaster Management Committee will prepare and present an initial report on the alternative safe places to relocate the vulnerable settlements suitable for the local communities within a week’s time.
Secretary at the NRA Ramkrishna Sapkota and its Executive Committee Member Dhruba Prasad Sharma participated in the discussion. Deputy Director General (DDG) of the DUDBC Chakrabarti Kantha, DDG of the DFSC Badriraj Dhungana and DDG of the Department of Mines and Geology Rajendra Bhandary informed the meeting about the organizational structure, human resources and likely budget availability for the purpose from their respective departments.
Senior Meteorologist at the DoHM Archana Shrestha informed that there has been more than average rain this monsoon and stressed on being vigilant in the coming days as the season which normally ends in the third week of September could be extended further.
Experts Dr. Taranidhi Bhattarai, Professor Meghraj Dhital, Dr. Jagat Basnet and Madhukar Upadhyay said that the landslides this monsoon should not be seen only as related to the 2015 earthquake and stressed on the need to study the landslide risks throughout the country. They also said the vulnerable settlements should be identified soon and the locals governments should start relocating them in safer places.
Earlier, Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota, who represents Sindhupalchowk constituency, held a high-level discussion on the situation in Sindhupalchowk on August 24 which was participated by federal ministers, Chief Minister of Bagmati Province, people’s representatives and the CEOs of the NRA and NDRRMA.