Kathmandu, December 10
The government, representatives of different political parties and locals of Gorkha and Dhading districts have reached a four-point agreement on the land compensation dispute of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki Hydropower Project.
A meeting of the concerned stakeholders at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) today, has agreed to implement the project as soon as possible and move forward together for a possible solution.
Last week, locals affected by the Budhigandaki project had enforced a bandh in Khahare and Arughat bazaars of Dhading, expressing dissatisfaction with the compensation fixed by the government in November. The locals had shut down government offices, educational institutions and businesses. Transportation was also disrupted during the protest.
Earlier, a joint meeting of the compensation fixing committees of both Gorkha and Dhading districts had fixed compensation by classifying the land in project-affected areas — Arughat, Khahare and Bhishalnagar of Dhading and Arughat and Arkhet of Gorkha — into seven categories.
Compensation had been fixed for 537 ropanis of land in Arughat and 72 ropanis in Arkhet in Gorkha and 245 ropanis in Khahare and 910 ropanis in Arughat and Bishalnagar in Dhading. As per the compensation fixed, the land in the affected areas will fetch between Rs 50,000 and Rs 700,000 per aana as compensation, depending on the location of the land.
While compensation for land along the main road has been fixed at up to Rs 700,000 in bazaar areas, compensation for a land plot without any road access has been fixed at Rs 50,000.
A total of 14 former VDCs of Gorkha and 13 VDCs of Dhading will be affected by the proposed project.
As per the four-point agreement, the concerned stakeholders have agreed to review the earlier land compensation fixing committee’s recommendation.
The meeting has agreed to make a proper masterplan to relocate and resettle affected locals in appropriate areas that are close to the earlier settlements.
Spokesperson of Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who is also a representative of Gorkha district, informed that MoLESS will soon forward the resettlement plan to the Cabinet after holding consultations with the affected people.
As per the project, they have distributed Rs 27 billion competition to the affected people so far.
The government has allocated Rs 14 billion to provide compensation for those affected in the ongoing fiscal year.
A version of this article appears in print on December 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.