Locals displaced by the Arun III hydropower project will be compensated as per international standards, Investment Board Nepal (IBN) said.
During an interaction held in Sankhuwasabha, the board said that the project developer, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVNL), has been planning to distribute compensation as per international practices.
The Rs104-billion project will directly affect 265 households in four village development committees.
“The affected people will be compensated as per the international relocation and resettlement standard. Besides land, the affected people will also be compensated for their plants and other assets,” said Prem Khanal, consultant for IBN.
“If the project displaced people wish to build homes in another location, they will be paid money in line with current market rates.”
The board said that they had adopted a scientific method to determine the compensation amount for their plants. For example, if an orange tree is chopped down, the project will provide integrated compensation to the owner. From tree planting to production, the overall cost will be calculated and added to the compensation amount.
Likewise, people at the project site who have been doing business by leasing land will also be compensated in a fair manner.
According to Khanal, single elderly persons, women, people living below the poverty line and Dalit families will be guaranteed compensation with allowances for their land.
The board said that the practice was being adopted in Nepal for the first time to bring the compensation procedure in line with international standards.
The board has conducted a number of interactions with people in Diding, Yafu, Num and Hedangnagadi. According to the board, a VDC-level committee will be formed to negotiate land compensation and discuss other issues. Subsequently, a discussion with the project developer will be held to put the final
touches to the standards of the compensation distribution process, the board said.
On November 24, 2014, the board and SJVNL signed a project development agreement (PDA) for the 900MW Arun III hydropower project. SJVNL will complete the construction of the plant and start energy generation by 2020.
According to IBN, Nepal will receive Rs348 billion over 25 years from the project. Satluj will provide 21.9 percent of the energy generated free of cost, which is worth Rs155 billion, plus another Rs107 billion in royalties.
As per the PDA, the Indian company will allot shares worth Rs1.6 billion to locals, 50 percent of which will be issued within two years of the project’s launch. The rest of the shares will be issued at a later date at a premium.
IBN and Satluj started PDA talks in 2013 after Nepal and India signed an MoU in 2008 to construct the project.
Source : The Kathmandu Post