Quake-Affected Locals For Early Relocation To Safer Areas : Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project

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    BudhigandakiKATHMANDU, May 30: Locals in Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project affected areas, who lost their homes in the earthquake, have urged the government to relocate them to a safe location by providing them due compensation at the earliest.

    About 3,500 households in 14 VDCs of Gorkha and 13 VDCs of Dhading will submerge under the reservoir of the proposed hydropower project which will generate 1200 MW of energy. The project, a national pride project, is expected to solve the perennial problem of power outage in the country.

    Project affected locals of Arughat, Gorkha requested Minister for Energy Radhya Gyawali, who had reached the area recently to monitor distribution of relief material, to relocate them to a safe area during her recent visit. They have even written letters to Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectric Project Development Committee (BHPDC) and Ministry of Energy demanding early relocation to safe location, according to officials at MoE.

    BHDPC has prepared a file for land acquisition in projected affected areas and forwarded it to MoE for approval. Talking to Repubilca, Gopal Basnet, executive director of the project, said they have already started preparation for land acquisition and compensation distribution process. He, however, chose not to disclose the details.

    MoE sources say the file will be tabled in the cabinet soon for approval. After that we will publish a public notice for land acquisition and start and payment of compensation, they added.

    Govind Nepal, member of the National Planning Commission (NPC), said demands placed by the projected affected locals were genuine and should be addressed duly. “They don’t know whether to rebuild their houses or wait for the government to float relocation plan,” he said, adding, “We can address their demands by moving ahead with the relocation plan which is already ready.”

    At a time when all development projects are facing problem in land acquisition, projected affected locals of Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project have asked the government to expedite the land acquisition process. Officials say it is an opportunity. They say the government should act promptly and address their woes.

    Basnet, however, said they can start land acquisition process only after the Detailed Project Report, which is being prepared by Tractebel Engineering, is ready. The works to prepare DPR has been affected as consultants of Tractebel have returned to France after the earthquake serving a force majeure notice.

    The DPR will include detailed report of households, population and their assets as well as recommended locations for relocation of affected families, according to MoE officials.

    Source : Republica