21 November 2016: Championed by Melbourne-based business personality Shesh Ghale, NRNA (Non-Resident Nepali Association) is finally ready to actually lay bricks for the 600-plus homes to be built at the earthquake-flattened village of Laprak in Nepal.
Nepal, a nation ranked 145th in the 2014 UN Human Development Index, has never seen a mass construction of homes at the scale of the internationally-coordinated model village to be constructed at Laprak, a mountain village in Gorkha district which was literally decimated by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in 2014.
“Per wish of the people of Laprak and non-resident Nepali community, the government has made a fresh decision by doing away with obstacles that were previously in the way of building the Laprak Model Village,” Mr Ghale said today, adding, “We will go to the village right today and begin work.”
According to the spokesperson of the NRNA, the commencement of the much-awaited construction activities has become possible after the country’s National Reconstruction Authority made the decision today which cleared all discouraging bureaucratic hurdles.
In an electronic message, NRNA’s spokesperson Ranju Thapa said the organisation’s president Shesh Ghale has been in the Nepalese capital city for over a week now trying to create a conducive environment for the immediate commencement of the much-awaited construction.
The project, which is being driven by multiple stakeholders including local women in Laprak which lies some 15 kilometres from the Nepal earthquake epicentre, will eventually hand over the ownership of the earthquake-proof homes to the victims.
“No one will be able to take their homes from them,” said Ms Thapa. Therefore, they are closely being involved in the construction process, she noted.
Once complete, the Laprak Model Village may well turn out to be a tourist destination in its own right because it would be a well-developed village in the middle of a difficult terrain but with beautiful lush mountains, the spokesperson for the global body said in a telephone conversation with southasia.com.au.
The village women are so excited at the prospect of owning modern homes that they apparently come down to Besisahar (the headquarters of a neighbouring district) every fortnight to discuss the project.
“There are no men in the village as they have left in search of work since the earthquake. So NRNA is working closely with the local women and elders,” the Sydney-based spokesperson said.
Despite an MoU between the government and the NRNA, the construction could not begin for eight months because there were conditions in it that both the non-resident Nepalese community and the locals of the earthquake-devastated village did not approve. Depositing Rs 300,000 in the accounts of the victims instead of actually building the homes was one of them but the locals would rather have their homes built by NRNA. The typical red tape caused a delay of almost eight months since president Bidhya Devi Bhandari was in the village last April.