Dhading, December 3
Budhigandaki hydropower project-affected locals enforced a bandh in Khahare and Arughat bazaars of Dhading from early morning today, expressing dissatisfaction with the compensation fixed by the government recently.
While government offices, education institutions and businesses were shuttered, transportation was also disrupted during the protest.
Bandh enforcers also closed the office of Tripurasundari Rural Municipality and respective ward offices in project-affected areas in Dhading.
As the agitation gains traction, people’s representatives have also started declaring their resignation one by one in a show of solidarity with the agitators.
District Coordination Committee Dhading member Kamal Narayan Shrestha and Tripurasundari Rural Municipality-7 Ward Chair Devraj Dharel have resigned from their posts. Shrestha is a resident of Arughat; Dharel, of Khahare bazaar.
Ward chair Dharel, elected from then CPN-UML, while declaring his resignation from the post and all party-related responsibilities accused his party of being a mute spectator to the ongoing agitation of project victims. Meanwhile, in Gorkha, agitating residents of Arughat gained the rural municipality office and padlocked it at about 10:00 am before enforcing a bandh in Arughat bazaar.
Earlier, a joint meeting of compensation fixing committees of both Gorkha and Dhading districts, which convened on Sunday evening had fixed compensation by classifying the land in project-affected areas — namely, Arughat, Khahare and Bhishalnagar of Dhading and Arughat and Arkhet of Gorkha — into seven categories.
Compensation has been fixed for 537 ropani land in Arughat and 72 ropani in Arkhet in Gorkha and 245 ropanis in Khahare and 910 ropani in Arughat and Bishalnagar in Dhading. As per the compensation fixed, the land in the affected areas will fetch between Rs 50,000 and Rs 700,000 per anna as compensation depending on the location of the land.
While compensation for land along the main road has been fixed up to Rs 700,000 in bazaar areas, compensation for a land plot without any road access has been fixed at Rs 50,000.
Some 14 former VDCs of Gorkha and 13 VDCs of Dhading will be affected by the proposed project.
A version of this article appears in print on December 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.