Compensation row: Locals vandalise office of Budhigandaki hydro


    Dec 2, 2016- Disgruntled locals of Gorkha district, who have been demanding higher compensation for their land to be acquired by 1,200MW Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project, vandalised the office of the Project Development Committee on Thursday.

    Hundreds of locals had reached the committee office at Siurenitar on 10 reserved buses. The police had to fire 21 cells of teargas to disperse the crowd after the agitators tried to padlock the office. The police also arrested six individuals over vandalism charges.

    Chief District Officer Narayan Bhatta, who is also the head of the Compensation Determination Committee, said the crowd was led by people who own large land plots at the project area, but are residing in other major cities for years. “They are manipulating the locals who will be actually displaced by the project,” he said. “Once the locals know the actual benefits offered by the project, their protest will be neutralised.”

    The committee on Saturday had fixed the compensation rates ranging from Rs524,000 to Rs835,000 per ropani for around 30,000 ropanies of land in Gorkha district to be acquired by the project.
    The committee had fixed the compensation rates by categorising the land into five categories—paddy field, small farm land, land of market area, land that touches road and land near human settlements. Paddy field and small farm land are further graded under one to four grades, with compensation for the first grade being the highest.
    The committee has offered Rs835,000 per ropani in compensation for land of market area and Rs804,000 per ropani for land that touches road. It will provide Rs773,000 per ropani for land near human settlements.
    The first grade of paddy field will get Rs741,000 per ropani, whereas the second, third and fourth grades will get Rs710,000, Rs679,000 and Rs648,000 per ropani, respectively.

    Similarly, the first grade of small farm land will get Rs617,000 per ropani, and second, third and fourth grades will receive Rs586,000, Rs555,000 and Rs524,000, respectively.
    On top of the rate fixed by the committee, the committee is offering a 15 percent hike to those who own less than 5 ropanies, and a 10 percent raise to those who own less than 10 ropanies.
    The committee has also requested the government to offer a ropani of residential land parcel and Rs1 million cash to build new house to each household displaced by the project.

    However, the locals have demanded more than Rs1 million per ropani in compensation for their land. They have demanded their land be valued based on the rate offered by the government three years ago. The government, while acquiring 133 ropanies of land to build office and campsite for the project, had offered Rs795,000 per ropani. Now, the locals are demanding a 10 percent increment to the price per year for three consecutive years.

    Source: The Kantipur Post