GMR Upper Karnali signs land acquisition accords



    Nov21, 2016- GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Project has sealed land acquisition deals with residents of Achham and Dailekh districts, completing the process of pooling private land required for the 900 MW scheme.

    On Sunday, the company signed an agreement with landowners of Sattalla VDC in Dailekh district after they agreed to its compensation offer of Rs895,000 per ropani for their properties.

    Yogesh Anand, associate vice-president of GMR, and officials Raveej Mishra and D K Singh signed the pact on behalf of the developer while Bhakta Bahadur Thapa, Tikal Bahadur Shahi, Siva Thapa and Bhadra Thapa signed on behalf of the locals.

    The developer has already signed similar agreements with residents of Bhairavsthan VDC in Achham and Sigaudi VDC in Dailekh offering to pay compensation at the rate of Rs805,000 per ropani.

    Residents of Sattalla VDC had held out for a higher compensation amount, and fresh negotiations were started last week. GMR has decided to pay locals of Bhairavsthan and Sigaudi at the same rate offered to Sattalla VDC. “If we make different compensation payments for land acquired for the same project, it will set a wrong precedent,” said Ana-nd. “Therefore, we increased the compensation rate in Bha-iravsthan and Sigaudi too.”

    As per the deals, locals who will be displaced by the project will transfer ownership of around 1,000 ropanis of land located in three VDCs to the project developer. GMR has agreed to make payment in the next seven months. The project will affect an estimated 239 households.

    The progress achieved on the land acquisition front has come as a respite for GMR as acquiring private land has been one of its major headaches, and it needs to be completed before financial closure.

    The government and GMR signed a project development agreement (PDA) in September 2014 which states that financial closure should be completed by September 2016. The company failed to arrange the required financing within the deadline, and it cited inability to acquire land as one of the reasons behind the failure.

    GMR will give 27 percent of the shares in the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project to the government, and the country will also receive 12 percent (108 MW) of the total energy produced for free.

    Similarly, the project is expected to provide more than 2,000 jobs and the government is likely to receive Rs300 billion in financial benefits. The project will also be acquiring 207.75 hectares of government-owned land.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post