July 6, The Budhi Gandaki Project Development Committee has demanded Rs 29 billion for the fiscal year 2072/73 for land acquisition and procurement, and resettlement and rehabilitation of those to be displaced by the proposed project.
The committee writing to the Energy Ministry on Monday has demanded Rs 28 billion for acquisition and procurement of land in the areas to be inundated, and Rs 1 billion for temporary shelters for 1,373 households. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by consultant Tractebel Engineering of France has showed Rs 58 billion will be needed for land acquisition and procurement, and resettlement and rehabilitation of those to be displaced from 46 square kilometer of land to be inundated.
Stating that all the houses in the proposed reservoir site of the project have been destroyed by the earthquake, Executive Director of the committee Gopal Basnet said Rs 29 billion has been demanded in the upcoming fiscal year as this is the golden opportunity for resettlement/rehabilitation. “There will be problem in moving the project forward if the work is not started in the upcoming fiscal year,” he stated. He revealed that locals in the area to be affected have written to and verbally requested the committee to start land acquisition, and resettlement and rehabilitation immediately. “The locals themselves want to leave the project site now. Their demands will be fulfilled if adequate budget is allocated in the upcoming fiscal year, and there will not be any problem either,” he claimed.
He warned that there will be problem in moving the project forward if permanent structures were again constructed in the reservoir area. He said the government has already been asked to ban construction of permanent structures in the areas to be inundated. The DPR has showed that a total of 130,523 ropanis of land including 589 ropanis in market areas, 0,796 ropanis in rural areas and 372 ropanis of gardens will be inundated.
A total of 45,188 persons from 14 VDCs in Gorkha and 13 in Dhading will be displaced due to construction of the reservoir for the project. There has been no transaction of land in the area in the past three years due to talks about construction of the project. Soft loan of Rs 100 billion to be given by India is to be invested on the project, but there has been no decision on that. Political agreement to develop the national pride project has already been reached.
The 1200 MW project is estimated to cost Rs 250 billion and will generate 3.383 billion units of electricity a year. The project is near the major load centers like Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara and Narayangadh. Its dam will be 263 meters high while per MW cost of the project will be Rs 212.50 million and per unit cost Rs 7.35. The project was set to be completed by 2022.
Finance Ministry to give only Rs 4 billion
The Finance Ministry, meanwhile, will give only Rs 4 billion despite the committee demanding Rs 29 billion in the upcoming fiscal year. Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Chhetri said Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat has expressed commitment to allocate a minimum of Rs 4 billion for the project in the upcoming fiscal year. He said minister Mahat has promised to provide additional budget for the project if the allocated amount were spent.
Source : Karobar Daily