पुनर्निर्माण अपडेट

Buying water to build a house


The people around the famous Halesi Mahadev temple face water shortages due to its location. Many people have even begun to evict and resettle in other places.

Halesi (Khotang) – Badiraj Rai of Kattike in Ward no. 7 of Halesi Tuwachung Municipality had to buy water for Rs. One per liter to rebuild his house. And, it is the same issue with stones too. The lack of water and stones forced him to stay put on his plan for three years to rebuild his house destroyed in the April 2015 earthquake.

“Water is scarce and we do not get stone easily as well,” he said. The water crisis is not only his problem but the whole village suffers the same. 

“We don’t even have water for drinking,” said another villager Tham Bahadur Rai, “Water crisis has delayed the reconstruction.” He said the locals began to rebuild their houses only after the underground water source started to come to life last mid-June. 

He has only raised the DPC (damp-proof course) level of his under-construction house. “We are facing water crisis since three years,” said Tham Bahadur, who has only received the first instalment of the government’s private housing grant. “My estimate is that it will cost around Rs. 500,000 to complete my house.” 

The villagers here believe that the earthquake three years ago had impacted the water sources, hence the crisis. This has forced the villagers to carry water from far away wells, tap and streams. 

Aita Bahadur BK has received the second instalment of the housing grant but the construction of his house has halted at the DPC phase. “We always need to worry about the water,” he said. “As we do not even have drinking water, how to manage it for building the house?” 

The people around the famous Halesi Mahadev temple face water shortages due to its location. Many people have even begun to evict and resettle in other places. 

Four families of Dhitung in Ward no.  8 of the muncipality have been forced to emigrate due to the lack of water, according to Evan Rai, mayor of Halesi Tuwachung Muncipality. “Ward no. 1 to 7 have fallen under the drought hit region,” he said. 
“Considering those wards, we have already issued a tender to bring water through the lifting technology from Koshi river.” 

The Koshi river flows through the 10 of the 11 wards but the people still face water crisis, as there is no resources to lift the river’s water and distribute. 

According to Rai, the earthquake victims have made big pits and collected the rain water and are preparing to use that water in building house. He said that the municipality has arranged a tanker to distribute drinking water for which the locals bear the fuel cost which is around Rs. one per liter. 

“We are formulating new ways to deal with the water problem,” said Rai. “Then the water will cost Rs. 0.3 to 0.35 per liter.” 

According to mayor Rai, Halesi was declared a drought-hit area by the government in 2014. About 50 percent of the 20,000 population in ward no. 1 to 7 have to buy water for the reconstruction of their houses.

The stories are same in the neighboring Okhaldhunga district. 

Shyam Kumar Katuwal from Nishankhe in Ward no. 2 of Siddicharan Municipality has received only the first instalment of the grant and has already applied for the second instalment. He is preparing to build a two-storied house but says that water scarcity is a big problem. 

“Till now, I have paid Rs. 18,000 for water only,” he said. “We buy the water brought in a big tank on a tractor from Chharchhare which is six kilometers away.” 

This is the problem of the entire ward, according to Madhav Prasad Bhattarai, secretary of the ward. “All villagers in the ward are forced to either buy or walk for hours to fetch from local streams,” he said. “Fifty percent of the population here is facing this problem while reconstructing their houses.” 

“The source of water is in the lower places and the villages live in higher places,” said Bhattarai. “This leaves the villagers with no option but to buy and carry from faraway places.” 
By Bimal Khatiwada in Kantipur

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