Sankhuwasabha landslide victims being relocated after two years of displacement

Two years after they were displaced by a landslide on July 11, 2020, the landslide victims of Besinda and Chepchewa of Silichong Rural Municipality-1 have received land plots for relocation.

The District Disaster Management Committee in coordination with Silichong Rural Municipality and Khadbari Municipality has provided land to 55 displaced households out of the total 92 at Bhaire Dada of Khadbari Municipality-7.

Aviral Kulung, who lost his home in the landslide, says he can never forget the pain of losing his ancestral home but receiving land to build a new house has given him the courage to restart his life. “I can finally build a house and start over,” he said. “This is the first time in two years that I feel safe and happy.”

The authorities have allocated 69 ropanis of land to 55 households and legal work is underway to provide 51.5 ropanis of land in Chitre and 17.5 ropanis of Bakhaltum in Silichong.

Most of the victims spent the last two years living in tents at Budhhabare in ward 1 of the rural municipality while some were seeking refuge with their relatives.

According to Chief District Officer Nurhari Khatiwada, the process of the land purchase at Khadbari Municipality for the 55 displaced families was completed four months ago. “The allotment of land plots to the victims took a little longer than anticipated,” said Khatiwada. “Resettlement of most of the displaced families has now begun. We used the lottery system to allocate land plots to the victims to avoid any foul play in allocation.”

Khatiwada said that 69 ropanis of land at Khadbari-7 was purchased at Rs 13 million. Similarly, land has also been purchased for the relocation of the remaining 37 households at Chitre and Bakhaltum villages in Silichong Rural Municipality.

According to Bhupalraj Mewahang, chairman of Silichong Rural Municipality, for the remaining 37 families, a joint registration has been passed in the name of the displaced people after buying 51.5 ropanis of land in Chitre for Rs 7 million and 17.5 ropanis of land in Bakhaltum for Rs 3.4 million.

“Paperwork to relocate 25 households of Besinda to Chitre and 12 households of Chepchewa to Bakhaltum is underway and will be completed in a couple of months,” said Mewahang.

“We will soon start plotting the land and allocating. Land plotting has been underway since March 13, 2022, after the District Disaster Management Committee decided to purchase the land,” he said.

All three levels of government—federal, provincial and local—have spent resources on the relocation of the displaced.

Besinda and Chepchewa villages were completely swept away by landslides triggered by heavy rainfall during the 2020 monsoon. “Eleven victims of the landslide are still missing,” said Mewahang.

Shambhu Rai, a landslide victim from Besinda who had been living under a tent since he lost his house to the disaster, plans to build a new home soon on the land allocated to him by the government.

“The landslide took everything from us,” he said. “But now I can finally build a house and start afresh.” 

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