National

Chitwan and Tanahun join national campaign to replace thatched roofs with galavanised zinc sheets

- RAMESH KUMAR POUDEL , CHITWAN

Jun 11, 2019-

Sarita Sunar from Ratnanagar-14 lives alone in a dilapidated thatched-roof house that was constructed a decade ago. The roof of her house, made of khar, an herb traditionally used for roofs in many hilly and Himalayan districts, often leaks during the monsoons.

But Sunar says she does not have to worry about a leaking roof this monsoon since she received two bundles of galvanised zinc sheets from Ratnanagar Mayor Narayan Ban, who visited her house on Tuesday.

The handover was part of Ratnanagar Municipality’s campaign to replace traditional thatched roof with galvanised zinc sheets. The municipality has announced its plan to replace thatched roofs from all of the 275 houses by next year.

“It was impossible to repair the roof, and I didn’t have enough money to buy zinc sheets,” Sunar said. “The zinc sheets come as a great relief.”

According to Ban, the municipality plans to replace the roofs of 147 houses this year. “By the end of next year, all the houses with thatched roofs will wear a new look,” Ban said.

Ban recounted his visit to an impoverished community in Khaireti last year as an inspiration of the campaign.

“When I visited a Kumal family in Khaireti last year, as part of a campaign to declare the ward as child labour free zone, I saw that several houses still had thatched roofs,” Ban said. “I immediately discussed plans to replace those roofs, and the campaign was born.”

The two bundles of zinc sheets the municipality is currently distributing cost Rs 16,400. The municipality has allocated Rs 2.4 millions for the campaign.

The campaign to replace traditional thatched roofs with galvanised zinc sheets is taking place in other districts as well.

Only this week, the Kamalamai Municipality in Sindhuli started the campaign to replace thatched roofs with galvanised zinc sheets in around 220 houses in the municipality.

Meanwhile, Rishing Rural Municipality is slated to kick off a similar campaign this week. The rural municipality has allocated Rs4 millions to replace thatched roofs from 280 houses in the eight wards in rural municipality.

Locals said that thatched roofs are not only impractical during monsoons but are also vulnerable to snakes and wildfire. “I’m happy that we won’t have to go through the same problem again,” said Ambisara Thapa, a local from Paniyarthoka in Rishing Rural Municipality-8.

According to Nayab Subba Umakanta Poudel, while the zinc sheets and technical support will be provided to the families, the households will have to make their own arrangements for replacing the roof.

The rural municipality will provide a support of Rs50, 000 to each family, according to Poudel.

(Pratap Ranamagar contributed reporting from Tanahun)

Published: 12-06-2019 06:30

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