Locals launch protest; demand more shares

    • Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project

    Agitating workers of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project in Lamabagar, Dolakha.
    Agitating workers of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project in Lamabagar, Dolakha.

    DOLAKHA, MAR 15 – At a time when workers employed at the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project stalling the project work demanding shares, residents of the affected areas have also started agitation demanding additional shares.

    Locals from Singati have been obstructing the movement of the project’s vehicles since Friday, demanding more shares from the currently allocated 70 shares per person. Dolakha Chief District Officer Prem Lal Lamichhane confirmed the vehicular movement obstruction continued on Saturday too.

    The locals had earlier obstructed the movement of vehicles putting forth the same demand for four days starting February 23.

    The project’s developer Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited has allocated 10 percent, or 10.05 million shares, for the people of Dolakhadistrict.

    Of the allocated shares, people from the most affected areas will get 300 shares per person, while those from other regions will get a maximum of 70 shares each.

    The share allocation was finalised by the Tamakoshi Stakeholder committee represented by major political parties and stakeholders. However, the committee later decided that the residents of the most affected areas, including Bhimeshwor municipality, Suspachh-emawoti, Sundrawati, Sunkhani, Lamidanda, Bulung, Orang, Khare, Namdu, Bhirkot, Jafe, Malu, Shahare and Gairim-udi, should get more shares.

    A meeting of the committee on Friday had decided a team of political party leaders, lawmakers and people from the affected areas would visit Kathmandu to implement the decision.

    Meanwhile, efforts are being made to hold talks between the workers and the company, said the company’s spokesperson Ganesh Neupane. The agitating workers say they should also be given the shares as the employees of the institutions financing the project have been allocated the stake. But the company has been arguing it cannot offer the shares to the workers as the memorandum of association of the company does not have such a provision.

    Political parties have given varied opinions over the issue.  Nepal Congress District President Tara Bahadur Koirala said although the demand of the workers was justifiable, they should not have halted the project work.

    CPN (UML) District President Ishwor Chandra Pokharel said necessary alternatives should be explored, but the work should not stop.

    UCPN (Maoist) district coordinator Ganga Karki said the problem should be solved through dialogue between the two parties.

    Source : eKantipur