Budhigandaki Project: Manpower crunch delays distribution of compensation

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    Feb 22, 2017- Human resource shortages at Land Revenue and Survey offices in Dhading has delayed compensation distribution to locals who are being displaced by 1200MW Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project.

    It has been around a month since District Administration Office (DAO) Dhading received Rs2.5 billion to hand over compensation payments to landowners of Salang, Maidi and Khari VDCs.

    Around 1,300 households of those VDCs have already applied for compensation at DAO, but Land Revenue and Survey offices’ inability to verify land ownership documents has put compensation distribution in limbo.

    “We have received funds from the Finance Ministry and applications from landowners. We are ready on our part,” said Dhading Chief District Officer (CDO) Umesh Kumar Dhakal. “But Land Revenue and Survey Offices’ staff must go for field visits to identify the land category before distributing compensation. Currently, they are unable to do so due to inadequate human resources.”

    DAO is collaborating with these offices to complete the compensation payment job as soon as possible, added Dhakal.

    As land to be acquired by the project has been classified into five categories, with different rates of compensations, 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 Rs524,000 to Rs835,000 per ropani.

    Gopal Basnet, executive director of the project development committee, said his office has repeatedly requested both Land Revenue and Survey offices to allocate adequate manpower to verify the land parcels. “But they have not addressed out concern,” said Basnet.

    The Land Revenue Office has said it is difficult to accomplish the job unless the office gets additional workforce. “Our staff are already overwhelmed with regular job,” Saligram Acharya, an officer. “In absence of additional perks, we can’t ask them to do the additional job.”

    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, and they will require appropriate compensation.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post