On 12th Jan, 2014, National Network for Disaster Management in Nepal (DiMaNN), Forum for Protection of Consumers’ Rights in Nepal and Friends Service Council Nepal (FSCN) jointly organized an interaction program entitled “Consumer Concern on Safe Shelter” on the occasion of 16th National Earthquake Safety Day.
The program was chaired by Chairperson of Forum for Protection of Consumers’ Rights in Nepal, Prof. Dr. Madhav Prasad Sharma. Mr. Kishor Thapa, Secretary of Ministry of Urban Development, who acted as the Chief Guest, extended thanks for raising issue related safe shelter and expressed his concern regarding the safety of Private school and hospital buildings since they are not earthquake resistant. Because of which, the Ministry has recommen
ded to shift those schools and hospitals to safe and earthquake resistant buildings, he said. Furthermore, he informed that the Ministry has planned to start monitoring big housing companies and business complexes. Given the civil society comes forward to raise awareness of people regarding use of sound technology for making earthquake resistant buildings, he assured that the Ministry would also collaborate in this regard.
Highlighting the objectives of the program, Mr. Surya Bahadur Thapa, Chairperson of DiMaNN urged to the development activities to disaster management. And, at the same time, he requested the Government for promulgation of Disaster Management Act as soon as possible, asking them to be further responsible on the disaster related issues. He expected that the important suggestions from civil society, consumers and other stakeholder will be generated from the interaction programme.
Mr. Jyoti Baniya, General Secretary, Forum for Protection of Consumers’ Rights in Nepal illustrated the importance of awareness among the consumers regarding the outcome of spending their lives in the building which are not earthquake resistant. According to him, since the houses are sold and bought as commodities in the market, the forum has adopted this issue as a serious matter related to consumers. He also quoted that consumers, themselves, are the ones who will suffer from any mishap caused by earthquakes. Emphasizing integrated development of Kathmandu Valley for disaster risk reduction Joint secretary, Mr. Dinesh Thapaliya from Ministry of Local Development urged people for participation and coordination on the disaster risk reduction. According to Ramadhar Sah from Bureau of Standards and Meterology , the department is proactive in defining the standards of construction materials and standards have been defined for 12 items so far. He further expressed that consumers should be aware themselves on the standards and quality of anything they purchase.
Surya Bhakta Sigachhe from
National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) informed about the vulnerability of Nepal to earthquake and because of which, there is need of capacity building trainings for persons involved in the construction of buildings. According to a study conducted by World Bank, if the same magnitude of earthquake as of 1990 BS occurs again, there could be casualty of 31,000 teachers and students from 4,000 Community schools of Kathmandu Valley, he said.
Prof. Dr. Ritu Prasad Gartoula, Tribhuvan University; Mahendra Gurung President, Nepal Engineering Association; Prof. Dr. Tanka Dhamala, Department of Mathematics, T.U; and other key speakers raised their concerns and requested on awareness campaign and capacity building of people for the management of safe shelter.