Musahar basti. (File photo)
ITAHARI: A newly constructed settlement for the Musahars has been seemingly left useless for the past two and a half years as the target beneficiaries are reluctant to inhabit the settlement citing various causes.
The Musahar community for which the shelters were built argued that their consent was not sought beforehand and the newly built settlement lacked facilities.
It takes much time to reach the company they are working for from the newly built settlement at Itahari-16, and their children’s school is also far away, they argued. The settlement was developed by the Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City.
Fifteen houses have been built for the Musahar community, currently living at Itahari-17, at a cost of Rs 12 million under the Tarai Madhes Prosperity Programme. The Itahari Sub Metropolitan City also provided assistances for the project.
Local resident Sumati Rishidev said they would not leave their ancestral place. “They did not consult with us before building the settlement for us. We cannot leave this place where we are living for long. We must be settled within our existing settlement itself.”
It is far way to reach the company for which we work from the newly built settlement, he said, adding that it takes 45 minutes to one hour on a bicycle to reach Itahari bazaar from the settlement as well. “So, it will create problems for our children to reach school,” he said.
The target group assesses that the settlement built for them lies in an inappropriate location from the Itahari Bazaar where they have to be each day to earn a living. It is not easily accessible for their regular duty station and schools of their children.
“We are ready to live in makeshift hut along the roadside areas, but we don’t think we will move to the new shelters made by the government of us.” As he said, the local government is urging them to shift to the settlement. “It takes at least 45 minutes to one hour to arrive in Itahari Bazaar from there. The local government promised us to provide bicycles to make the travel easier, but it is not a sustainable solution. Working women of the community are likely to be affected more if we move out there,” he said.
Drinking water facility has been ensured in the settlement. Likewise, the settlement has toilets, a children’s park, a community building and a temple as well. Millions of rupees were spent to implement the project.
With the target group declining to move to the new settlement built for them, the multi-year road project brought by the local government has been in limbo. The Itahari sub-metropolis is at the moment seeing no clear ways ahead to determine the modality of road widening projects with the plan to shift the people residing on the roadside to a new settlement.
A three-member team was formed under the convenorship of the then Itahari submetropolis-16 chair Deep Narayan Chaudhary after the target group denied shifting to the settlement. Being based on the committee’s report, the local government prepares to provide the new homes to most indigent community in the town. “The process is likely to begin within some months,” according to sub-metropolis chief administrative officer Ram Charitra Meheta.