Kathmandu, September 10
The Budhigandaki Hydropower Concern Committee has urged the government to increase the compensation amount for the affected people by 15 per cent after a year the compensation was fixed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA).
The concern committee has said that because of the delay in distribution of compensation by the government the victims have been left stranded.
In a meeting with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba here today, the committee requested him to distribute the entire compensation amount within the current fiscal year. “Affected households of only six village development committees (VDCs) out of the 27 VDCs that have been affected by the project have received compensation till date,” said Hareram Dhakal, coordinator of the committee. “We have asked the prime minister to promptly distribute the compensation to the affected people.”
The concern committee has also urged the government to fix the compensation amount for affected areas like Arughat, Arkhet and Khahare Bazar of Gorkha. The compensation for these aforementioned places have yet to be decided.
As per Dhakal, committee also requested PM Deuba to ask Ministry of Home Affairs to review compensation amount and increase it to the level that the committee has demanded. “The government had finalised Rs 525,000 to Rs 835,000 as compensation amount but we have asked MoHA to revise the amount,” he informed.
The government had earlier asked owners of around 60,000 ropanis of land in Gorkha and Dhading districts that will be affected by the 1200-megawatt reservoir project not to sell their land. According to the feasibility study of the project, Rs 60 billion is needed to distribute the compensation, however, the government has allocated only Rs 10 billion, which will be distributed in this fiscal year.
The concern committee also apprised the prime minister that the earthquake-affected people of that area still have not received the second tranche of government aid to reconstruct their houses. At the moment, the government does not allow construction of permanent structures in the area, however the affected people are allowed to construct temporary shelters. “We have requested the prime minister to facilitate the distribution of the second tranche to the earthquake victims of that area,” Dhakal informed.
After listening to the grievances of the committee, Prime Minister Deuba assured them that the government was serious about constructing the hydro project and ready to distribute compensation amount as soon as possible.
Likewise, Chief Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri, said that the government will take immediate action to settle the compensation issue as soon as possible. “The Office of the Prime Minister will consult with all the concerned parties to settle this issue as soon as possible,” he said.
A version of this article appears in print on September 11, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.