DAILEKH, Sept 24: GMR, the developer of Upper Karnali hydroelectricity project, has started distributing compensation to the locals at a very slow pace, after a long wait, against the land acquired for the project.
The company has distributed compensation to eight households of Achham district for acquisition of their 20 plots of land and to 12 households of Dailekh district for their 12 plots of land.
The company was supposed to distribute compensation for the acquisition of 49 hectares of private land for the project. Total 426 households are supposed to get compensation, out of which 57 households will be relocated.
Looking at the slow pace of the company, the locals have suspected that the remaining households will have to wait much longer for the compensation, even if the company starts giving compensation after the Tihar festival. It took more than a month to distribute compensation to the 20 households.
GMR representatives have claimed that the delays in opening of bank counter in the affected area and evaluation of land had delayed the distribution.
Land owners are annoyed with the distribution of compensation in installments by GMR. Locals have said that the distribution of compensation for house, land and plants should be rapid and on time.
KK Sharma, GMR’s chief of construction for the project, said that though only 20 households received compensation, rest of the households will receive it after the Tihar festival. He said that the compensation has been distributed after evaluation of the affected households’ annual income from the trees, fruit-plants, sheds and land that they would lose.
Only the households of Bhairavsthan, Sigauda and Sattala have received compensation so far. Land owners have received compensation of Rs 895,000 per ropani of land as per an agreement between Upper Karnali Hydro Project Concern Committee and GMR representatives. A total of Rs 950 million has been estimated for the compensation of 49 hectares of land.
The land has been registered under Upper Karnali Hydro Power Company at the offices of land revenue in Achham and Dailekh districts.
Deukala Devi Buda, a local of Bhairavsthan of Achham, said after receiving the compensation amount: “The rumor of compensation distribution existed since the last 10 years. I finally got it now.”
Likewise, Gajraj BC of Bhairavsthan, Achham, said that the wait was finally over for him. “We received the amount now. All the affected households should receive it at the earliest,” he added.
GMR will use the acquired forest area from Dailekh and Achham districts for the construction of tunnel, embankment and power house. GMR will have to plant 25 saplings against each plant lost. The District Forest Office will assign it land for the plantation. GMR should hand it over to the forest office after five years.
It is stated in the Project Development Agreement (PDA) that GMR will invest 1 percent of its total investment in restoration and resettlement of the affected communities and addressing environmental and social problems caused by the project.
The company will start production of power from 2021. The company will hand over the project to the government of Nepal in 2046, after 25 years of its operation.
Source: My Republica