Tuesday Dec 6, 2022
Tuesday Dec 6, 2022

Patlekhet village at risk of landslides

The village has been affected by landslides regularly since the start of the century.

2022 Mar 28, 10:21, Beni

Locals of Patlekhet village in Beni Municipality-10 are in a state of panic after the being at a risk of landslides.

Local Kedar Subedi informed that the landslide has destroyed more than 700 ropanis of arable land and destroyed eight hectares of forest area. "Seventy-five percent of the Raghuganga community forest has been damaged. The farms have been destroyed by the landslide and have come close to the settlement, but no effective steps have been taken to control the landslide," he said.

 According to him, four houses were completely displaced by landslides last year. Yam Bahadur Ramjali, Hari Garbuja, Khammi Garbuja, and Gore Roka, who had been living as squatters with Indra Bahadur Rawat, had been displaced by the landslide after his house was destroyed. A local's, Murari Hamal, house was destroyed by a landslide near Bandrekhalti and he too has been displaced elsewhere. According to the locals, the landslide occurred in Bandrekhalti in 1961. Later, from 2001, landslides started to occur every year but their size was not as high as they are now. According to Subedi, the landslide went out of control due to the earthquake in 2015. After the earthquake, the landslide has spread from the middle of the forest down to the bank of Raghuganga river and up to the settlement. After the earthquake, Patlekhet has been further affected by the landslide. Hundreds of ropanis of arable land belonging to more than 25 locals have been completely destroyed by the landslide. 

 Dozens of houses have been gutted by the landslide. Even though the risk has increased due to the collapse of houses and courtyards, the locals have been forced to live life so. Thirty-five households are at high risk from the Bandrekhalti landslide and 28 from the neighboring landslide. Settlements, including Bhaithok, Okhari and Paijagaun, are at high risk of landslides. Lok Bahadur Pun, acting ward chairman of Beni Municipality-10, said that the fear of uprising in the entire village has increased in the coming rainy season as no work, other than study, has been done for landslide prevention and control.

 "Houses are crumbling, farms are destroyed; landslides are not easy to control. No work has been done in winter, conservation and control work have not started despite studies from higher bodies," said Ward Chairman Pun. Chairman Pun said that the settlement has to be relocated if the landslide is not controlled. Although necessary initiatives have been taken by the municipality for landslide control due to the increased risk of human damage, no concrete plan has come so far.

 After the landslide swept away the gravel road from Paija village across the river, the road has been made temporarily by installing gabions from the budget of Rs. 1 million allocated by the municipality. Apart from that, no budget allocation and plan has been implemented by anybody for landslide control this year. Secretary of the Nepali Congress, Myagdi, Bharat Bahadur Rakal, said that despite the initiatives taken by all parties for the prevention and control of landslides, no concrete results have been achieved so far.

 He said that a team of geologists from the Greater Watershed Management Center Pokhara is working to prepare the Detailed Project Report, including the on-site study of the landslide. "It seems that efforts should be made to control landslides based on the suggestions of geologists. Work should be done in winter for this. So far, nobody has addressed the issue of landslide risk reduction. It is important for all concerned to pay attention," he said.

 Chief Administrative Officer of Beni Municipality Dholakraj Dhakal, who visited the landslide site, informed that an initiative is being taken by the upper body for the protection of the settlement based on the report of the geologist. "It is not possible to control landslides with a small budget. It seems that landslide control projects should be implemented from the upper body. The local level is taking initiative in this regard," he said.


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