Kalikot locals affected by Karnali Highway yet to get compensation

Kalikot, August 12:

The construction of the Karnali Highway was completed last year. But 494 households in Kalikot district have still not got compensation for their land acquired for the highway even as the people hit by the highway in Jumla and Dailekh have already got compensation.

Of the 232 km highway, popularly known as Surkhet-Jumla road that links Bangesimal of Surkhet to Khalanga of Jumla, people affected by the 52 km section from Serighat to Rachuli in Kalikot have not got compensation.

“We are happy at the construction of the highway. However, I am worried, too, as I have not got compensation yet,” Lalit BK of Manma-2 said.

“I am facing hardship to feed my family. Despite assurances, the Nepal Army has not provided compensation yet,” he said.

The then Royal Nepal Army had begun the construction of the highway from Sai to Ranchuli VDC of Dailekh in 2003. According to the NA, compensation could not be given to people as the government had not released the fund.

The World Bank had provided compensation to the tune of Rs 120 million to the people affected by the 36-km section of the highway from Ranchuli to Jumla, the Surkhet Road Division Office said.

Even though a team of parliamentarians had collected the details of the households deprived of the compensation and presented the report to the government, compensation looks nowhere in sight for the landowners whose land was acquired for the highway.

The people deprived of compensation in Kalikot said they were a neglected lot, as landowners

in Dailekh and Jumla have already got compensation.

“After the highway acquired my land, I started working in India to eke out a living,” said Man Bahadur Shahi, a resident of Rachuli-4.

Irate locals in Rachuli and Yaha VDCs placed boulders on the road to pile pressure on the government to pay compensation to them. However, their efforts went in vain.

The Kalikot District Administration Office said compensation would be provided to the locals after evaluating the loss they incurred.