Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project: Dhading locals finally receive compensation

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    Apr 16, 2017-

    The Dhading District Administration Office (DAO) has finally started extending compensation to residents of three areas of the district who have agreed to relinquish their land for the construction of the 1,200MW Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project.

    The cash distribution began four months after the Finance Ministry released the funds.

    On Thursday, the DAO distributed Rs30.07 million in compensation to 23 landowners of Salang, Maidi and Khari after acquiring 50 ropanies of land in 38 parcels.

    After those land parcels were transferred to the Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project Development Committee by the Land Revenue Office, the compensation amount was deposited in the bank accounts of beneficiaries at Dhading Besi branch of the state-owned Rastriya Banijya Bank.

    “In the first phase, we distributed compensation to only 23 landowners. But within a week we will distribute Rs450 million in compensation to 180 landowners to acquire 779 ropanies of land,” said Umesh Kumar Dhakal, chief district officer of Dhading.

    Out of around 1,400 applications submitted by Dhading locals seeking compensation for their land, applications of 180 landowners are likely to be verified soon.

    In order to get compensation, land owners first have to file applications at the office of project development committee. These applications are then forwarded to Land Revenue and Survey offices for verification as well as categorisation of land parcels. The applications are then forwarded to the DAO for compensation distribution.

    The DAO Dhading, according to Dhakal, will soon complete distribution of Rs2.5 billion extended by the Finance Ministry to compensate land owners.  The DAO in Jaunary had received Rs 2.5 billion from the Finance Ministry for distribution of compensation. But the fund distribution process was delayed due to lack of human resources at Land Revenue and Survey offices.

    Meanwhile, the DAO of Gorkha, another project-affected district, started distributing compensation in February. Like Dhading, Gorkha had also received Rs 2.5 billion from the Finance Ministry in January to compensate land owners.

    The compensation distribution committees of the two districts have fixed the compensation rate at Rs 524,000 to Rs 835,000 for every ropani of land.

    The land to be acquired by the project have been classified into five categories-paddy field, small farmland, land in market area, land adjoining a road and land near human settlements. Paddy fields and small farmlands have been further classified into four grades, with the first grade commanding the highest compensation amount. On top of the compensation fixed by the committee, it is offering 15 percent extra to those who own less than 5 ropanis of land, and 10 percent extra to those who own less than 10 ropanis of land.

    The latest project development committee report puts the number of the affected households at more than 8,000. The reservoir of the storage project will submerge 3,560 houses and the occupants will need to be resettled with proper compensation. Likewise, 4,557 households will be partially affected by the project and need appropriate compensation.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post