Land acquisition to begin in mid-February: Officials

Land acquisition to begin in mid-February: Officials

Land acquisition for the construction of 1,200MW Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project is set to begin from mid-February, government officials have said.

After completing data collection by the time, the project plans to start distribution of compensation to the locals for the acquired land.

Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project Development Committee Chairman Laxmi Prasad Devkota said the government would complete the task of compensating 8,117 households in the inundation area by this fiscal year. “We had planned to complete compensation distribution by now, but the whole process was delayed by the earthquake, and was further hit by the India-imposed trade blockade,” Devkota said.

However, the project has said distribution of large compensations will difficult due to limited budget allocation. In July last year, the Energy Ministry had sought Rs29 billion in the annual budget for the development of the project. The ministry had stated the project needed Rs58 billion for resettlement and land acquisition alone. As per the committee, the project is estimated to cost Rs250 billion.

Meanwhile, locals of Dhading and Gorkha who will be affected by the project have demanded the government immediately start the construction of the mega hydropower project.

At a public hearing in Bungkot Ghat, Dhading, on Friday and Saturday, they said it was the right time to resettle them as they had to be resettled any way after the damage caused by the April and May earthquakes.

On the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Top Bahadur Raymajhi, said the work on expediting the project had begun. He said the government was currently busy in identifying land plots that were to be acquired.
Gopal Basnet, executive director of the project, said they were developing a detailed engineering graph of the project and readying tender documents.

Source: The Kathmandu Post