Finalize resettlement plan first: Budhigandaki affected locals

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    Locals of Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project have demanded that the resettlement plan should be finalized before fixing compensation for land to be acquired by the project.

    Hare Ram Dhakal, coordinator of Budhigandaki Stakeholders Committee, said that they have strong reservation over preparation to fix compensation for to be acquired by the project. “The project should specify the location and resettle us before acquiring our land as per the international standards,” Dhakal said, adding that rates under discussion at the Compensation Committee in Gorkha were unacceptable for them.

    Quoting sources, Dhakal said that rates between Rs 300,000 and Rs 800,000 per ropani have been proposed. But the issue has not been discussed in Dhading yet, he added.

    A total of 3,160 families of 27 VDCs of Gorkha and Dhading are to be relocated from the site of 1200 MW project that will create a lake which is 15 times the size of Fewa Lake in Pokhara.

    Most of the families in the project site list their homes in the earthquake of 2015. “As most of the families have lost their homes, National Reconstruction Authority has to first design resettlement models and distribute housing grants to project affected locals,” a statement issued by the committee said.

    The committee has also demanded that the government form a high-powered authority for the purpose of distributing compensation as stated by the budget for this fiscal year instead of the committee led by Chief District Officer.

    Dhakal also blamed the Ministry of Industry for delaying the project. “The government should not make further delay as land transactions in the area have been barred since long,” he added.

    The committee also has drawn the attention of the Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Development Committee (BHDC), the entity responsible for the development of the mega project, to first review the Detailed Project Report and all other key documents by an independent team of experts before starting the project.

    The Detailed Project Report of Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project was prepared by a French consulting firm.

    The committee has also suggested to the government to develop the project by mobilizing domestic investment.

    Source : Republica