Construction works at the 50-megawatt Upper Marsyangdi hydel project have been halted. China’s Sino Hydro and its Nepali partner company Sagarmatha Hydropower have stopped infrastructure development activities at Bhulbhule in Lamjung, citing security reasons.
“A halt in ongoing work means a loss to the tune of Rs 4 lakh a day, but we are left with no option in the wake of strikes and vandalism,” project manager Jhau Gau Min said at a press conference at the project site today and demanded guarantee of security if project works were to be resumed.
With construction works coming to a halt, concerns have grown whether the project will be completed within the stipulated time.
On Saturday, over half a dozen vehicles belonging to the project were vandalised by locals of Khudi after a minor drowned in local Chhaharekhola. The locals blamed the project for the death, saying the project failed in its commitment to construct a bridge over the river. Five vehicles, two loaders and an excavator are said to have been damaged in the vandalism.
Though the project has pledged compensation of Rs 1 million to the family of the deceased minor, no one has come forward to own up the responsibility of vandalism. Nor has the local administration taken any initiative to probe into the incident in which property worth around Rs 5 million is said to have been lost.
Earlier too, workers at the project had shut the project, accusing project authorities of not providing wages fairly and firing staff without giving substantial reasons. The construction company, on the other hand, has accused locals and workers of piling undue pressure on it. Sino Hydro has also written to the Chinese Embassy, drawing the latter’s attention to lack of conducive environment for carrying on with the project for the time being. The project has also written to local political parties, their leaders and the local administration, informing them about its inability to continue construction works amid insecure environments.
The project in its letter has also expressed its disappointment at the non-cooperation from the local administration and political parties to resolve the crisis. Local political parties and the administration, after getting the letter, have now decided that they would intervene and do the needful to create a conducive environment so that the project could resume construction works at the earliest.
The project, which will generate 50 megawatt electricity, is set to build its power house on the banks of the Marsyangdi River in Bhulbhule by channelising water through a tunnel.
The company so far has constructed almost two-kilometre stretch of the tunnel.
Minor’s death sparks vandalism
• On Saturday, eight vehicles belonging to the project were vandalised by locals of Khudi after a minor drowned in local Chhaharekhola
• The locals blamed the project for the death, saying the project failed in its commitment to construct a bridge over the river
• The project has pledged compensation of Rs 1 million to the family of the deceased
• Halt in ongoing work means a loss to the tune of Rs 4 lakh a day
Source : The Himalayan Times