Locals of power project catchment area protest

Kathmandu, December 4

A group of locals, whose land will be acquired by Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project, protested at Maitighar Mandala today, demanding fair price of their property.

Locals protested after the district administration offices of Gorkha and Dhading published notices yesterday fixing the minimum price of the land plots in Arughat, Khahare and Arukhet that will be acquired for the hydel project. One municipality and four rural municipalities of Dhading and four rural municipalities of Gorkha lie in the catchment area of the 1200 MW Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project. According to Information Officer of the project Ritesh Rawal, 3,560 households will be affected by the project.

Dharmendra Kaji Shrestha, who led the protest told THT that the government fixed minimum compensation of Rs 800,000 per ropani for those land plots that were sold at the same rate a decade ago. “We have enough evidence to prove the price of the land plots sold 10 years ago. How can we expect the unfair price?” Shrestha questioned, adding that the locals, who would be affected by the minimum compensation price were preparing to move the court. He said the DAOs also published notice fixing the price at Rs 50,000 for per ropani in some areas, which were a bit further from the motorable road. “The government fixed the price of our land in an arbitrary manner. It should have taken into account of the infrastructure and amenities in those areas before fixing the minimum price of land plots for acquisition,” he added.

Coordinator of Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project Krishna Bahadur Karki told THT that compensation price was fixed by a committee headed by CDOs of Dhading and Gorkha district after completion of multiple layers of processes and thus it was fair. “The committee that fixed the acquisition price took into account the price recommended by the local levels, price of land plots determined by banks during disbursement of loans and price of land plots fixed by Land Revenue Offices of Dhading and Gorkha,” he said and added that 1,200 households, whose houses will submerge, will get compensation for their houses as per the current value.

“Affected families will be compensated for their houses at current market price. This means even if they had built their houses 50 years ago, they will get the price of their houses as per the current market price,” he said and added that the families who would lose their houses would also get residential plots at different locations.