Construction Neglected Under Public Housing Program (Photo Feature)

October 7, 2020 By: INSEC
The poor, Dalits and destitute have been facing more problems due to non-completion of work under the public housing program in Phulkaha, Gaushala Municipality-6. The public housing program under the Ministry of Urban Development had started building houses for the Dalit community eight months ago. However, even after eight months, the two-room house has not been built yet.

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The construction of houses in Musahari Tole of Phulkaha in Gaushala Municipality-6 is still in abeyance even after eight months of the demolition of houses of Musahar community.

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The foundations of 36 houses in the settlement have been demolished to make way for concrete houses. Due to the delay of house construction, women, children and senior citizens of 36 families are forced to live under the open sky.

Panodevi Majhi Musahar, 63, said, “There are many problems. There is no one to speak for the poor.’

Indal Majhi Musahar, 45, of the same place said that he has been making a living by building a hut in the place where the foundation was laid even after months of not building a house.

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Laxmi Devi Majhi Musahar, 55, expressed grief over the rain and wind. They have been in tents.

Kisan Majhi Musahar, 60, said, “Two children have fallen ill after being soaked in water.” He added, “I can’t survive this rain.”

The Ministry of Urban Development had launched a program to build houses for 1,000 Dalit families in Mahottari last fiscal year under the People’s Housing Program.

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However, the construction of the house has stalled due to the ineffectiveness of the program. The Musahar community has not received any information as to why the house was not built.

Stating that the municipality should not interfere as it is a project run by the provincial government with the financial support of the central government, Mayor of Gaushala Municipality Shivnath Mahato said that he was urging with the provincial government to build houses.

There is a similar problem in Musahar settlement of Bhangha municipality. Although the construction of houses for the Musahar community in Bhangha Municipality-3 has been started through the public housing program, they have been forced to live in small huts and under the roof of tents. Due to lack of space, even livestock has to be kept with them.

“My husband fell ill and died while working day and night under the open sky. With the help of tents and straw, we have been able to provide shelter to our children. I am also getting sick., said Munesari Devi Sadal, 65, of Bhangha Municipality-3.

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It has been almost three years since the government demolished the thatched house saying that it will build a new concrete house. A family of eight, including Munesari Devi’s son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, has been forced to live under the open sky day and night.

Julma Sada, a 70-year-old husband of Munesari, died in the rainy season of August 2019 due to illness.

Munesari said, “The government had promised to build a house in a few days after demolishing the thatched hut. Three years have passed since the foundation was laid in the first phase and a year and a half has passed. When will it be made?

Nayan Kumari Sada’s family has the same problem. Nine members of his family, including her, have been avoiding the sun and water under the open sky with the help of tent.

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“In the beginning, I was happy to demolish the thatched hut that was supposed to be a concrete house. I was confident that our house would be built in a few days. But, even after three years, the house was not built. The government made us homeless. Now, in winter, all the members of the family are living in the huts on the ground under tents, ”said Nayan Kumari.

The families of Munesari and Nayan Kumari are just an example. The government had demolished the houses of 19 Dalit and destitute Musahar families in the same settlement to build permanent houses under the public housing program.

19 The Musahar community here has been living a miserable life in the sun and winter for almost three years after their families became homeless.

Chief of Bhangha Municipality Sanjiv Kumar Sah accused the government of uprooting the poor by demolishing the existing house under the pretext of building a new one.

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He said that the municipality should not build on the foundation of the house as it is the work of the provincial government with the financial support of the central government.

Last winter, two or three blankets and clothes were distributed to each household in coordination with various organizations.

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Jitendra Sonal, Minister for Physical Infrastructure Development of Province 2, who is responsible for the work of public housing, said that he could not work due to lack of staffs.

“There are no employees. How to build a house for public housing? However, I have instructed to build houses as soon as possible, ”said Minister Sonal.“ We are also paying attention to the problems of the people. We are trying to complete the work under construction as soon as possible.’

- Ajay Kumar Sah