Upper Karnali project starts distributing compensation

Surkhet, October 11

As part of land acquisition process, Upper Karnali Hydropower Project has started distributing compensation to project affected locals.

According to KK Sharma, chief of the field site office of GMR, the contractor, Rs 42.6 million has been distributed in compensation so far. “Till date compensation has been provided for 1.5 hectare land in Achham and Dailekh,” he informed.

Meanwhile, with the beginning of compensation distribution, locals are hopeful about the project taking shape in near future. To ensure that the compensation is not misused, Upper Karnali Concern Committee has made the families concerned open a joint account.

Devi Budha of Turmakhand Rural Municipality, who received compensation, shared his plan to buy land in the plains. “I hardly believed that the project mired in one or the other controversy would ever take our land. Now we’ve got money in return for our land,” he said, wishing for the successful completion of the project.

Achham, Bhairavsthan’s Bam Bahadur BC, however, is still doubtful about the project taking off. “Though compensation is being given to locals, there is no way we could be assured for the project starting on time as there are news that there is no enough fund for the project,” he said, urging for early completion of the project.

GMR field site office chief Sharma, however, told locals not to doubt the fate of the project. “We aren’t for holding the project indefinitely, its construction will start within a year after we attain financial closure” he said.

The government of Nepal had signed a PDA with the Indian company GMR on September 14, 2014 for the construction of the 900MW power project. As per the project design, it will have a 150 metre high dam at Dailekh’s Dab. Water collected at the dam site will then be channelled through a tunnel at the power production site at Balde. Nepal will receive 27 per cent free stock of the 120 billion rupees project, and will also get 12 per cent of the electricity produced for free.