Irate locals protest, padlock Melamchi office

Himalayan News Service

Sindupalchowk, August 3

Residents of Melamchi padlocked the office of Melamchi Drinking Water Project here today expressing dissatisfaction over the selection of the programme venue to lay the foundation stone to kick start its construction work.

PM Madhav Kumar Nepal had laid the foundation stone of the project in Sundarijal today.

The irked locals accused the government of ignoring their feelings by laying the foundation stone at the end point rather than at the source of water. The locals also showed black flag to the prime minister in Jorpati demanding that he lay the foundation stone at the starting point of the tunnel in Sindupalchowk.

Police intervened into the protests and detained more than 20 demonstrators. Though the police released most of the arrested, they are yet to release Nepali Congress leader Badri Chaulagain and Chiring Lama, a local of Helambu, informed Chandra Bahadur Thapa, chairman of the Hyolmo Sindhu Melamchi valley social welfare committee.

Thapa accused the police of using force in a peaceful demonstration. He also informed that they had submitted a memorandum to the prime minister yesterday to lay the foundation stone in the starting point of the tunnel.

The locals of Melamchi also expressed dissatisfaction over the members of the Hyolmo Sindhu Melamchi valley social welfare committee saying that the former had made an agreement with the government against the desire of the locals. The Melamchi residents claimed that they would continue their protest programme.

PM Nepal lays foundation stone

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Monday laid the foundation stone for the construction work of canal of the ambitious Melamchi Drinking Water Project in Sundarijal of Kathmandu. The canal, a major portion of the project, will stretch 26.5 km from Sundarijal to Melamchi, Sindhupalchowk.Chinese contractors China Railway Fifteen Bureau Group Corporation and China CMIIC Engineering Corporation have been assigned to complete the construction within four-and-a-half years. With the laying of the foundation stone, the construction work of the diversion canal started from four places-- Ambathan, Gyalthum, Sindhu and Sundarijal. Speaking at the function, PM Nepal said that the government had initiated the project and was its top priority to solve the water problems of the Valley. The estimated cost for the construction of the canal is around $10 million, equivalent to Rs 77 crore. — HNS