Tamakoshi shares bring people back to villages

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    DOLAKHA, Dec 18

    sharesKrishna Prasad Khatiwada of Babare-8 returned home after three decades. Born in Babare, he had migrated to Kathmandu selling his land and properties. Khatiwada, who even got citizenship certificates for his children from Kathmandu, has been in Dolakha for the past few days.

    Man Bahadur KC of Jangu has also returned two decades after leaving his home. Having remained out of contact from his family during this period, he has now started to register birth of his kids and acquire citizenship certificates. Kamal Bishwokarma, also of Jangu, is also searching for his relatives after returning to his village some time back. Furten Sherpa of Lamabagar-1 has started to frequent his village now after forgetting the district for a long time. “Those who had left the village even before we were born have now started to return looking for their home. The villages now are bustling,” Shyam Prasad Khatiwada, 26, of Babare-8 says.

    These are a few examples of people returning back to Dolakha with claims of being a local with preparations on to issue shares for Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project to the locals. People of Dolakha will get 10 percent shares for the 456 MW project to be developed with domestic investment. The number of people returning back has risen with start of collecting actual data about the people living in the district. Staffers have been visiting each house in the villages for the past two weeks to collect data. The district level mechanism plans to allocate shares equally after collecting complete data. “Those who have never been seen in the village and had forgotten their village have started to come back due to greed for Tamakoshi shares. Many of those who have returned back have already sold their properties while others have been living elsewhere for a long time despite still owning properties here,” Narayan Prasad Dahal, a former village development committee (VDC) secretary, says.

    Local leaders and staffers have been receiving many phone calls after start of data collection. “Many call from abroad. Others ask through the social networking sites. I have been busy informing many about the latest developments,” district secretary of Nepali Congress Keshav Raj Chaulagai says. “I have started to remain offline on Facebook after being flooded with queries about Tamakoshi shares. But I still receive queries despite remaining offline,” District secretary of CPN-UML Bharat Dulal shares. “Those who used to curse the village saying there is nothing in the village have now started to regret. Many have returned back to village and are searching their relatives,” UCPN (Maoist) leader Bishal Khadka quips. Seeing enthusiasm of locals and commoners toward Upper Tamakoshi, he suggests that such projects should be developed with local participation. “There is no longer scarcity of capital in the country. Enthusiasm seen for Tamakoshi proves that. Construction of big infrastructure projects will be possible with domestic investment if we were to work with efficient management,” he sates.

    Population of the district is expected to rise with even those staying out of the district returning back. Deadline for data collection has been extended till December end. Information Officer at the Dolakha District Development Committee (DDC) Bikram Karki estimates a one/third rise in the district population that was 183,500 as per the Census 2011.

    Who will get the shares?

    The district level mechanism formed under the Local Development Officer (LDO) has formed standards after guarantee of 10 percent shares for the locals in Dolakha. The mechanism includes lawmakers from the district, district chiefs of the political parties, civil society representatives and experts. Those born in the district and residing there permanently to the infants born a day before submitting forms for the shares will be eligible. Those migrating to Dolakha from elsewhere before February, 2007 will also get shares.

    Information officer Karki says those with certificates acquired elsewhere but having land and properties in the district will not get shares. The women married outside the district will also be eligible if they have acquired citizenship certificates from the district. Details about birth registration, citizenship certificates and migration certificates and the date of their issue are also being collected along with the serial numbers.  He reveals forms have been kept on the website for those who are abroad. The locals of Lamabagar will get shares worth Rs 42.30 million from the 10 percent shares allocated for Dolakha district.

    The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has 41 percent stake, Nepal Telecom (NT) six, Citizen Investment Trust (CIT) two, Rastriya Beema Sansthan (RBS) two, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) 17.28, commoners 15 percent staffers of EPF 2.88, company and NEA 3.84 and locals of Dolakha 10 as per the share structure of the project.

    Spokesperson for the project Dr Ganesh Neupane says the process of inviting locals for shares will start only after completing data collection in the district. The project, whose 71 percent work has been completed to date, has only spent from loan amount and from the money of promoter shares. There is 70 percent loan and 30 percent equity investment in the project.

    Source : Karobar