By Dhirendra Prasad Sah, Rajbiraj, Jan. 19: The National Planning Commission (NPC) held an interaction with local level people's representatives and stakeholders of Saptari and Siraha districts in Rajbiraj on Tuesday for the internal evaluation of the People's Housing (Janata Awash) programme.
In the interaction, officials at the Urban Development and Building Office (Saptari-Siraha) Rajbiraj briefed that the office had so far constructed 4,400 houses under the programme in the two districts.
According to Krishna Dev Jha, Acting Chief of the Urban Development and Building Office, Rajbiraj, 2,300 houses in Saptari and 2,176 houses in Siraha till this year since the programme was launched a decade ago.
Jha said that a total of 998 houses have been selected in Saptari and 395 in Siraha for Dom and Mehtar community this year for construction, out of which 371 houses are under construction in Saptari while construction work of 223 houses is yet to begin.
Similarly, 294 houses are under construction in Siraha while the construction of 100 houses has not started yet.
He said that 10 houses have been completed in both the districts in the current fiscal year, roofing work has been completed in 14 houses, wall construction task in 151 houses, DPC work in 226 houses is undergoing at present.
As most of the Dom and Mehtar communities are living on public land, the construction work has not started due to a land ownership dispute.
The construction work is also being affected due to the inaction of the local levels in resolving land ownership disputes. He said that if the land dispute was not resolved in time, the quota would be cut or canceled.
Speaking at the function, member of the Commission Dil Bahadur Gurung stressed the need to make the public housing environment friendly. Reminding that the country has been declared open defecation free, Gurung said that houses should be constructed with toilets.
The local level chiefs and ward chairpersons who participated in the programme complained that the wards were not aware of the construction of houses in the wards. He also claimed that the mix of substandard bricks, sand and cement in the construction of houses was very different from the normal quantity. He emphasised the need to build housing in coordination with local level ward offices.
The government has allocated Rs. 317,500 per house for constructing a two-room concrete house with a veranda. An additional Rs. 15,000 will be provided for the construction of toilets along with the house, said Jha.
He said that apart from 10 per cent public contribution (Jana Shramdan) in the construction, the houses will be completed at a total of Rs. 332,500. However, the housing being constructed in Siraha district is not environmentally friendly as there are no toilets.
Acting Chief Jha said that the construction of houses has been started on the basis of the list of Doms and Mehtars sent by the locals for the construction of houses. He said that the remaining 16 local levels have not been able to move ahead with the remaining construction work due to land ownership disputes.
Under the People's Housing Programme that began from the fiscal year 2066/67 B.S., 734 houses including 319 in Saptari and 415 in Siraha are still undergoing construction till the fiscal year 076/77.