RASUWA, JUL 19 –
Construction work on the 60-MW Upper Trishuli 3-A hydropower project has been halted for last two weeks. Putting forth various demands, local political leaders and stakeholders have obstructed the project work.
As a result, the work on a dam for lower and upper tunnels in Sallotar, and other two tunnels at Simle, Manakamana-9, has come to a complete halt.
Political parties including UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist started agitation right after the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) withdrew its decision to upgrade the project’s capacity to 90MW. The NEA withdrew its controversial plan amid allegations of corruption. Local political leaders, however, were in favour of the capacity upgradation plan.
The parties on July 3 had barred workers of China Gezhouba Group Co, the project’s contractor, from carrying out their regular work. The group had also padlocked the project’s site office, which was reopened with an initiation of the Nuwakot District Administration Office. Following the incident, workers refused to return to their jobs, citing insecurity.
Local political leaders and a stakeholders’ group have put forward a 26-point demand that includes upgrading the project’s capacity to 145MW, 20 percent share ownership to the locals, free-of-cost electricity to VDCs affected by the project, and assurance of education, health and employment opportunity to the locals.
Uttam Amatya, officiating project chief, said they have not been able to continue the construction work for the last two weeks.
The Nepal Electrical Authority (NEA) is set to form a team under project official Ram Chandra Pandey to initiate talks with the protesting group, while the political parties and stakeholders have already formed a seven-member team for the talks.
The project employs 500 individuals, including 200 Chinese.
The project is already running behind the schedule, with only 22 percent work completed. After the annulment the project’s capacity upgradation decision, the NEA on June 14 had directed the project to ensure its completion within the deadline — May 2014 — and to furnish a detailed work schedule.
Source : The Kathmandu Post