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Structures destroyed by floods in the Mahakali river in 2013 are yet to be reconstructed

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The Kathmandu Post
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Only the damaged embankment and two government office buildings have been reconstructed in the last seven years.

By Manoj Badu

Several infrastructures in Khalanga, the district headquarters of Darchula, were destroyed by devastating floods in the Mahakali river in 2013. Till date, none of these infrastructures has been completely reconstructed.

The flooded Mahakali river had swept away 12 government offices, more than 156 private houses, embankment, a covered hall, and a playground. Only the damaged embankment and two government office buildings have been reconstructed in the last seven years.

“Around 70 percent area of the district hospital was swept away by the flood. We had provided health services from the open area. The hospital is now being operated out of the damaged building,” said Bir Hari Rai, a former employee at the district hospital.

According to him, the government had allocated budget to build the hospital a year after the disaster hit but the budget was frozen. “The hospital could not manage land in the district headquarters to construct the building. The hospital management tried to buy a plot of land but could not find a suitable location,” said Rai.

Meanwhile, in government offices, service seekers and government officials face difficulties due to reconstruction delay; most of the government offices are providing services from congested rented buildings.

Khalanga Source Centre, an education office that monitors and coordinates the community schools, had been shifted to Khalanga Primary School after the flood. The office is still being operated from the same school. “We don’t have our own office which affects the office work,” said Jayaraj Panta, the office chief.

Similarly, sports activities have been hugely affected after the covered hall and playground had been washed away by the floods. “We used to organise various indoor games in the covered hall. The open playground was also swept away. We could not organise any sports tournaments due to the lack of a suitable venue,” said Narayan Dahal, chairman of the district sports development committee. “We have to go to the bordering Indian town to play badminton. We have repeatedly urged the concerned authorities to construct the covered hall and playground but to no avail,” he added.

Mahakali Municipality allocated Rs 2 million to build a playground in the area. However, the project was left in limbo as it could not find a suitable place for the construction of the playground. “We started construction of the playground in the public land of Dumpani a few months ago. But the locals protested; they wanted the space to be left open for the public,” said Mayor Hansha Raj Bhatta.