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Earthquake Safe Communities in Nepal

Interactive Meetings held with Newly Elected Local Representatives in Nuwakot and Dolakha

NSET-BaliyoGhar Program has conducted Interactive Meeting programs with the newly elected local representatives in program areas of Dolakha and Nuwakot. The main purpose of those meetings have been to introduce, share and explore ideas on ensuring effective reconstruction efforts in the areas. 

In presence of newly elected Chiefs and Executive Officers, the interaction meeting with the local representatives were conducted at Bhimeshwor Municipality, Kalinchowk Rural Municipality, Bigu Rural Municipality, Sailung Rural Municipality & Tamakoshi Rural Municipality of Dolakha and Kakani, Likhu & Shivapuri Rural Municipality of Nuwakot. The interactions were held on 22-25th June in Dolakha and 29-30th June in Nuwakot.

In the interaction held at Bhimeshwor Municipality-Dolakha, Mr. Bharat Bahadur K.C, Mayor of Bhimeshwor Municipality, proposed for retrofitting some of the buildings at municipality. According to him, retrofitted house will act as demonstration house as well as there will be capacity built up training for masons too so that they could work in retrofit of other buildings as well. Mr. Suresh Raut, Engineer of the municipality, emphasized in further improvement of Help Desk established at Bhimeshwor Municipality Office. The Help Desk is providing the service to house-owner for building permit system and disseminating technical knowledge and information for safer reconstruction.

Dr. Amod Mani Dixit, Executive Director of NSET, Dr. Ramesh Guragain, Deputy Executive Director of NSET, Ranjan Dhungel, Program Manager of BaliyoGhar Program along with team members of BaliyoGhar were present in the open discussion. Realizing the ground reality of reconstruction in the quake hit districts, efforts of government, non-government and newly elected bodies in promoting safer reconstruction, relevancy and importance of technical support in reconstruction, managing working environment to ensure better reconstruction were some of the agendas of the discussion.

In the interaction held at Singati, Vice Chairman of Kalinchwok Rural Municipality, Mr. Bin Kumar Thami suggested Baliyo Ghar team to ensure technical support in each and every household in the community. Likewise, the chiefs of Bigu Rural Municipality and Sailung Rural Municipality thanked NSET and its program BaliyoGhar for helping the communities to ensure safer housing construction. They also requested to help build community building for newly elected representatives. Dr. Amod Mani Dixit, Executive Director of NSET reminded about the budget and policy constraints in constructing such buildings. Likewise, the representatives of Tamakoshi Rural Municipality requested to include some of the wards in providing technical assistance. NSET officials reaffirmed their commitment in providing blanket technical support to every household to ensure safer and better reconstruction.

3 days after the interactions at Dolakha, NSET-BaliyoGhar organized 3 discussion programs with newly elected local bodies of Nuwakot. In the interaction held in Kakani Rural Municipality, Man Bahadur Lama, Chief of the rural municipality pleaded NSET-BaliyoGhar to conduct mason trainings in other wards where BaliyoGhar is not implemented. Since the new federal system has combined several existing VDCs of the districts to a single rural municipality, some problems have been faced in the implementation of program as some of the existing VDCs lies in one rural municipality and rest in other. Earlier, BaliyoGhar program was implemented in existing 9 VDCs of Nuwakot and 13 VDCs of Dolakha.

Likewise, in the interaction held in Likhu Rural Municipality and Shivapuri Rural Municipality, the representatives had several queries regarding the technical support system. Some of the Presidents of Wards requested to invest money in building the house of poor people rather to conduct mason trainings and orientations. Dr. Ramesh Guragain, Dy. Executive Director of NSET highlighted the importance of mason trainings and orientations in building safer communities. He said, "The logic seems naturally true but if a single house is constructed, what for the several houses of communities? A single trained mason can build several earthquake resistant houses." 

Some of the representatives of rural municipalities shared that several teams from various organizations are providing the door to door technical support in different wards but during the inspection for housing grants; so many houses are found ineligible to receive second tranche of government housing grants.  In this regard, Mr. Ranjan Dhungel, Program Manager of BaliyoGhar said, "If the house-owners and mason follow the instructions of engineers and social mobilizers, there is no doubt in receiving second tranche of grant. Hence, entire house owners must be aware and should have knowledge on earthquake safety. The technical team and social mobilizer support house owner to some extent but ultimately the decision is on the hands of house-owner to make house earthquake resistant or not."

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