Gandaki Province govt against Kaligandaki-Tinau Multi-purpose Project

Pokhara, May 4

The government in Gandaki Province has protested the multi-billion-rupee Kaligandaki-Tinau Diversion Multipurpose project that figured in the recent government policies and programmes for the upcoming fiscal.

The Kaligandaki-Tinau Diversion Multipurpose Project expected to cost some 40 billion rupees was first proposed during the tenure of Nepal Communist Party leader and former finance minister Bishnu Poudel. As per the concept of the project, water in the Kaligandaki River will be channelled to the Tinau River though a tunnel to irrigate over 100,000 hectare farmland in Rupandehi and Kapilvastu, and produce 424MW of electricity alongside.

While the detailed field report of the project has been completed, geological study of the project is under way, according to a report of Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.

As per the design, a 22km long tunnel will carry 90.6 cusec water from the Kaligandaki River to the Tinau River.

For the same purpose, a dam will be built at Parewadanda on the border of Palpa’s Pipaldanda and Syangja’s Malunga.

The project figures on the priority list of the federal government’s policies and programmes for the upcoming fiscal that was presented by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari yesterday.

“Once the study of the project is over, construction will start,” reads the government’s policies and programmes.

The protest has to do with the residents’ concerns that the diversion project will have a negative impact on the ecosystem in the lower basin area adversely affecting farming. Chief Minister of the province Prithvi Subba Gurung has long been protesting the project.

“The diversion project will dry the lower basin area of the river thereby impacting the ecosystem farmland, so we can’t let the project go ahead,” he explained.

Upon hearing the central government’s policies and programmes, Financial Affairs and Planning Minister Kiran Gurung of Gandaki Province also said he was against the project.

“There is no way we will allow a project that is against the welfare of the people of this province,” he said.

Meanwhile, even local residents of Syangja, Palpa, Tanahun, Nawalpur and Chitwan have voiced their concerns about the project.

“The river is linked to our life and our faith, so we won’t tolerate deforming the river under any name,” said Rampur Municipality Mayor Raman Bahadur Thapa.