Budhigandaki hydroelectric project: Dhading locals fret delay in compensation distribution

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    Apr 2, 2017- Locals of Dhading have called on authorities to immediately start extending compensation for their land which will be acquired by the Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project.

    A large number of locals, who will be displaced by the project, visit the District Administration Office (DAO) Dhading every day demanding that compensation be extended immediately, DAO officials said.

    The DAO Dhading was given Rs2.5 billion couple of months ago to initiate the process of handing over the compensation amount to landowners of Salang, Maidi and Khari in the district. The 1,200MW storage project is being built on the Budhi Gandaki River in Dhading and Gorkha districts.

    “The compensation will be provided as soon as applications are forwarded by the project development committee and verified by Land Revenue and Survey offices,” said Umesh Dhakal, chief district officer (CDO) of Dhading. “We have already asked beneficiaries to open bank accounts at Rastriya Banijya Bank where the district treasury office will deposit the compensation amount via account payee cheques.”

    The project development committee, however, is citing human resource crunch at Land Revenue and Survey offices in Dhading as one of the major reasons behind the delay in compensation distribution to locals. As land to be acquired by the project has been classified into five categories and different compensation packages have been created for different land parcels, Land Revenue and Survey offices must identify and verify the land first.

    The compensation distribution committee has categorised the land into paddy field, small farm land, land in market area, land adjoining a road and land near human settlements. Paddy fields and small farm lands have been further classed into four grades, with the compensation amount for the first grade being the highest. The compensation rate ranges from Rs 524,000 to Rs 835,000 per ropani.

    “We are constantly exerting pressure on the project development committee to send us verified applications so that we can start extending the compensation,” said Dhakal. “The project development committee has said it will send around 100 applications within a week.”

    There is a high chance that the DAO Dhading will start distributing the compensation amount within next week, Dhakal added.

    Likewise, the DAO Gorkha, another project affected district which is entitled to distribute Rs2.5 billion in the first phase, has already started distributing compensation to landowners in Ghyalchowk, Bhulmi and Darbung. As of now, the DAO Gorkha has already distributed Rs256.2 million to 136 applications of the three areas. The DAO Gorkha, according to CDO Jitendra Basnet, aims to give away Rs2.5 billion by April.

    According to the latest report by the project development committee, more than 8,000 households of Dhading and Gorkha will be affected by the project.

    The reservoir of the storage project will completely 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 they will require appropriate compensation as well.

    The Kathmandu Post