Maoists hinder work on water project

Dhading, June 16:

The Maoists’ obstruction in the construction of a drinking water project at Mulpani village development committee ward number 6 in Dhading has caused damage worth over Rs 200 lakh.

They stopped the construction work saying that it was ‘funded by foreign forces.’

The Women’s Welfare and Development Society Nepal (WWDSN), with assistance from the Drinking Water and Sanitation Fund Development Committee (DWSFDC), had started the project in 2001 with the objective of providing drinking water to villagers of wards 4, 6 and 8 of Mulpani VDC.

Over a lakh households and the Mahendraodaya Secondary School were expected to benefit from the project.

The project ran into rough weather following the Maoists’ pressure, a local Man Bahadur Adhikari said.

Investment of Rs 12 lakhs from DWSFDC, Rs 4,72,000 from local resources and Rs 3 lakhs adjusted from labour of the people has already been sunk in construction. The Maoists, saying that there was foreign investment in the project, halted construction work, chairperson of the consumers’ committee Krishna Bahadur Adhikari said.

“Some 100 sacks of cement was damaged in the godown. Other construction materials, including pipes and tank, are also lying on the site after repeated talks with the Maoists ended inconclusively,” Adhikari added.

Construction of the project halted after the then Maoist district committee banned the construction work by pasting public notices in the village.

Locals said the Maoists are not making any attempt to let the construction resume. Unless they revoke their ban in writing, construction work cannot resume, said locals.

The DWSFDC has withdrawn from the construction after the obstruction. The villagers provided Rs 600 each per household for the construction.

Workers who were deployed for construction have not received their wages yet.

District-based Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Bhandari said though restriction was imposed during the conflict period, the party will not create any obstruction in development work. He said the Maoist will hold talks with the consumers’ committee and the DWSFDC soon.