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Quake prone reconstructions coming up in Kashmir

Oct 07, 2006:

Traditional stone constructions have begun to reappear in the quake affected zones of Jammu and Kashmir. These constructions are vulnerable to quakes and experts say these are paving way for another disaster. Shahnawaz Khan reports.

Stone structures coming up
Stone structures are vulnerable to earthquakes
A year after a devastating earthquake shook parts of South Asia , most of the people in the quake zones of Jammu and Kashmir live in semi permanent shelters, provided mostly by aid groups. The need for better and permanent shelters is greater than ever as another winter approaches.

While a few permanent constructions have come up, only a few affluent people have used bricks and mortar-the standard construction material. Others are resorting to traditional stone and mud houses vulnerable to quakes.

Like most of the hamlets in Uri permanent constructions are still to take off in Kalsa Ghati, a remote village close to the line of control in Uri. Residents live in tin sheds provided by the aid group Actionaid, which has adopted the village after the October 8 quake last year.

"We are still afraid of building houses. The horror of the quake hasn't left us," says Syed Muneer, a resident of Kalsa Ghati.

While Muneer lives with his wife and kids in a tin shed, he has constructed two rooms in stone and mud for his mother who lives there with other members of the family.

"We have no other option. We need something to protect ourselves," says Muneer who admits stone houses are dangerous.

Stone houses are vulnerable to quakes, but the sky touching prices of standard building materials like bricks, iron, sand and cement leave little options for people. Bricks reach the place at three times the cost in the Srinagar .

"A truckload of bricks (3000 bricks) reaches here at more than Rs 20,000, and the government expects us to construct houses in Rs 40,000," says Muneer Khan.

For full damaged houses the state government promised INR 100,000 as relief and gave INR 40,000 as the first instalment to people last year. For houses categorised as partially damaged the government approved INR 30,000.

"One year after the quake the government hasn't still delivered the second instalment of promised amount. In the first instalment which we got after Herculean efforts, we could only manage to fend for the winter. Building houses is out of question," explains Muneer.

While people say government help was inadequate, they are aggrieved that some families were not provided even the minimal aid. Of 130 families in the Kalsa Ghati, they say at least 30 have been left out, because of corruption and negligence of government officials.

Samunder Hussain another resident says the government officials listed large families as one.

"Among two or three brothers who lived separately with their families only one was provided the aid. Others were ignored," Samunder Hussain said.

"The aid money was inadequate for even one family, leave alone two or three families," Hussain adds.

continued . . .

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Kashmir Newz Specials
Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

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