The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the 102-MW Middle Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project has concluded that the project would make no negative impact on the environment and local people.
The report has recommended that the Middle Bhotekoshi Company Limited (MBCL) provide cash compensation to locals for acquiring their land, property and crops.
MBCL plans simultaneous development of the project and local tourism — for the first time in the country. The company has already announced developing a modern rafting along with a recreation site aiming foreign tourists.
During a public hearing on Wednesday, local residents and rafting entrepreneurs, however, urged that the company focus on hydropower development, but tourism.
Representatives from Bhotekoshi Preservation Struggle Committee (BPSC) stressed that the project should be developed without harming the Bhotekoshi River. “Bhotekoshi is one of the world’s attractive rivers for rafting,” said a representative of the committee. “We rather request to develop the project with some 80MW capacity, and preserve this river.”
The project is based in Sindupalchowk district and is projected to complete in 2016. The project’s feasibility study estimates the construction cost at Rs 14.5 billion. Chilime Hydropower Company will hold 35 percent stake in the project, while the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will have 10 percent.
Sindhupalchowk DDC will hold 3 percent share and Nepal Araniko Hydropower Company, Sindhu Investment Pvt Ltd and Sindhupalchowk Hydropower Company will have 1 percent each. Depositors of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will have 19.5 percent, locals 10 percent and the general public will have 15 percent share in the project.
On the occasion, locals criticised the company’s decision to float 10 percent share for them.
“People in this VDC can hardly manage their livelihood,” said a local. “How could they manage such a huge amount to invest in the project?” He said instead of floating the shares, the project should concentrate on investing in education and health sectors at the local level.
Source : eKantipur