Dhading, December 9
Families affected by the Budhigandaki Hydropower Project in Dhading and Gorkha, who had been agitating for the past one week over the issue of government-fixed compensation, have halted their agitation for now following an agreement among the agitators, local representatives and stakeholders to pursue talks regarding their demands.
“The agitation at Arughat was put on hold after a meeting of local representatives, stakeholders and residents of affected areas of both Dhading and Gorkha yesterday agreed to take initiatives to resolve the issue through dialogue with the authorities concerned, rather than through agitation at the local level,” said Budhigandaki Concern Committee Dhading Coordinator Dinesh Dhakal.
The committee has, however, made it clear that the Kathmandu-based agitation will continue to keep the pressure on.
Soon after the Dhading and Gorkha-district level compensation committees fixed the compensation for land in Gorkha’s Arughat and Arkhet and Dhading’s Bishalnagar and Khahare bazaar, locals of the affected areas had started protesting the ‘low’ compensation rate. Agitating locals had also closed Arughat bazaar, located on the banks of the Budhigandaki River, indefinitely to press for their demands.
Yesterday’s all party meeting also decided to submit an application to the home ministry for a review of the compensation.
“As per the meeting’s decision, an application will be filed for a review of the compensation rate. Similarly, the meeting has also decided to seek the release of land if the demands are not addressed within 15 days,” said the concern committee Gorkha Chairperson Jagannath Khanal.
Meanwhile, the project affected locals have also formed a committee to hold talks with the energy minister to resolve the issue.
The government has fixed compensation for land in the project affected area by dividing the land to be acquired into seven categories.
A version of this article appears in print on December 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.