KANCHANPUR:- Twelve years into displacement, flood victims at Laljhadi Rural Municipality are still awaiting rehabilitation.
Ninety percent people of the rural municipality-2, who were affected the most by the flooding in the Doda river in Kanchanpur district in 2065 BS, are taking shelter at a forest east of their old settlement.
Most of around 576 families at the ward are taking shelter in the forest, said the ward chair Hemraj Rana. “Around 150 victimised families returned to their old settlements. But others whose houses and lands were swept away have no option left.”
Although the Forest Division Office tried to displace the flood victims from the forest area accusing them of encroaching upon forest lands, a team from the Ministry of Forest on a humanitarian ground intervened and permitted them to stay there.
Despite their repeated calls to the federal and provincial government for the relocation of the flood victims, their voices have not been heard yet, he said.
Now the flood victims are eking out a living as daily wagers. “The Landless Squatters Problems Resolution Commission is collecting details of the victims. Whether it needs rehabilitation or lands to build houses for them is yet to be decided upon,” he said. Around 80 bighas of lands have been eroded by the flooding.
As a result of a failure to rehabilitate the flood victims, children have been deprived of their right to education. “Studies of our children have been affected due to our temporary accommodation. Political parties have asked for votes during elections, but never returned to hear our problems. We cannot return to our old settlements unless there is a river control,” said a flood victim, Nirasho Rana.
However, ward chair Rana said efforts were on to construct embankments in the Doda river and Khara river. The provincial government has provided Rs 2.5 million for the construction of an embankment in Khara river, he said, adding that construction of a bridge over the river is underway at the cost of Rs 40 million provided by the rural municipality and federal government.
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