Threat to halt Arun III project

Sankhuwasabha, Dec 21:

The Indigenous People’s Rights Forum today threatened to halt the activities of the 402-megawatt Arun III hydroelectricity project, if the demands they put forth to the government and Indian energy company, Sutlej Corporation, were not met.

During an interaction with Sutlej Corporation, the indigenous people’s leaders said they were not assured whether their demands would be met even when the detailed survey for the project had begun. They said the government and the hydel project contractor would be responsible for any untoward incident in the future.

Project manager Devendra Wardera expressed his commitment that the demands put forward

by the locals would be addressed. He said Arun III was still in survey phase and claimed that the demands would be met upon the completion of the project.

Stating that the government was set to receive 21.9 per cent of the total electricity generated,

Wardera said the Nepal government and the project builder should address the demands together.

Forum president Hom Prasad Yamfu said the indigenous people were ready to take any step for the fulfillment of their demands. Locals have been demanding that people of Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha districts, from where the Arun River flows, should benefit from the project. The Forum had placed its demands before the contractor, Sutlej Corporation. The demands discussed today include allowing locals to study the project, fully observing international laws related to the rights of indigenous people, including ILO treaty 169, involvement of the locals in the project survey, reasonable compensation to the affected locals and free health, electricity and roads for them. The formal survey started on November 12.