Land acquisition for Budhi Gandaki starts

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    The government has moved the process of acquiring 60,000 ropanis of private land in the first stage of developing 1200 MW Budhi Gandaki Reservoir Based Project.

    Trading of land, transfer of rights and construction of structures have been stopped in the area to be affected by the project from Friday following a meeting co-chaired by chief district officers (CDO) of Gorkha and Dhading. The Land Revenue Office in both the districts have issued public notice to that regard following the meeting’s decision. Land was being traded at an inflated price in the area after knowing that the project will be developed.

    A committee for valuation of land, under CDOs of the two districts, has also been formed. Executive Director of Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project Development Committee Gopal Basnet said distribution of compensation for the locals of affected areas has started as per the Land Acquisition Act. “The important and challenging work of a project is land acquisition. The project can fail if there are problems at the time of land acquisition. We, therefore, need everyone’s help to make it a success,” he reasoned.

    The government has allocated Rs 3.37 billion for land acquisition in the current fiscal year. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report prepared by consultant Tractebel Engineering has put the cost of land acquisition at Rs 61 billion, according to Basnet. “This is just the cost estimated by consultant. There can be some changes once the valuation committee sets price for land,” he added. He revealed that the consultant has submitted both detailed engineering and EIA reports. Both the reports have yet to be approved. A total of 45,188 individuals in 14 VDCs of Gorkha and 13 of Dhading will be displaced by the project.

    The main dam (double-arch-gravity) of the project will be 263 meters high. The reservoir will form a lake with area of 63 square kilometers. The estimated project cost is Rs 250 billion and per MW cost Rs 212.50 million. Similarly, per unit cost of generation will be Rs 7.35. The project will be completed by February, 2021 as per the schedule.

    The 10-year energy development concept paper recently issued by the government states that the project will be developed in company model.

    Source : Karobar daily