Gandaki Chief Minister Krishna Chandra Nepali warned that they would in no way allow the Kaligandaki Diversion Plan to succeed as it was introduced undermining the thoughts of the province.

Receiving memorandums presented on behalf of different organisations, including World Hindu Federation yesterday, he said they would resort to protest if the federal government did not heed their demands. "We will not tolerate the boastful efforts of the federal government against the feelings of the people in the province. We can go to the extent of bringing all the people of the province to the streets if need be."

"This was an act in violation of the constitution and attempt to weaken federalism in the country," the CM said, adding that the project was undertaken without taking into consideration the sharing of natural resources. The water flowing through the Rapti and the Tinau rivers is enough to irrigate land in Rupandehi and Kapilvastu, he said, charging that the plan was put forward to serve the vested interests of other actors.

Gandaki province has called an all-party meeting today to form a common view on the diversion project. Government Spokesperson and Minister of Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Social Development Kumar Khadka said the project had no linkage with its investment and potential benefits.

Minister Khadka termed it a dishonest act to put forward the diversion project in the Kaligandaki River undermining its cultural, touristic, economic and political importance.

Devghat will turn dry during winter if its water is mixed with Tinau as proposed now, he said, accusing the government of not implementing the previous project aimed at providing irrigation facility to Nawalpur and keeping Devghat safe. "Coming up with another attempt that can put the entire life here in trouble is a dishonest act," he remarked.

He said Chitwan National Park would also bear the brunt of the proposed project interventions and endangered animals like crocodiles would be under threat if Kaligandaki was diverted towards Tinau, State Assembly member and Nepali Congress Nawalpur president Bishnu Prasad Lamichhane said the locals had been protesting the project since the very beginning, but the central government continued to turn a deaf ear towards to their concerns.

Former lawmaker and Kaligandaki Conservation Campaign leader Shanker Pandey said the project would hurt the sentiments of Hindus and it was also hostile to the ecosystem of the area.

Chief of Kedareswor Mahadev Mani Sewashram Samiti Lekhnath Acharya, Rastriya Brahaman Society and Academic Assembly Chair Narayan Adhikari, World Hindu Federation central Vicechair Shankar Kharal, Bindabasini Sanskritpeeth Pracharya Jagannath Regmi and Kaligandaki Save Campaign activist Kularaj Chalise, among others, claimed that the project was an attack on the sentiments of Hindus and the Kaligandaki civilisation and no one had the right to cause harm to the environment and jeopardise the biodiversity.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 29 2021, of The Himalayan Times.