Agreement made on land compensation on Budhigandaki project


Kathmandu, Dec 10 : The stakeholders concerned have built uniform voice on sorting out the problems relating to Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project. A discussion held at Ministry of Energy on Tuesday forged agreement to expedite the project activities and work together to revolve disputed issues. As per the agreement, compensation for the land acquired for the project will range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 700 thousand per ropani. With the distribution of compensation, the stakeholders could meet again for further decision as per review of the compensation.

Similarly, Ministry will submit a proposal at the Council of Ministers within two weeks for the discount on depreciation gain tax to the landowners of the project affected areas, said Minister for Energy, Hydropower and Irrigation, Barshaman Pun. Government has the stand that compensatory gain had to be taxed. The locals receiving compensation were however complaining of gain tax. Present in the discussion, Spokesperson of Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Narayan Kaji Shrestha, said as the project is of strategic importance, the construction hurdles would be cleared soon. The grudges of the locals affected by the project would be addressed properly.

Similarly, former Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai maintained that the Ministry must take special initiative to accelerate the project. He suggested the line Ministry to request Home Ministry to help sort out problems relating to the compensation. In the discussion, Minister Pun observed, “Government is committing to speed up project related works. We will come up with concrete decision soon.” According to him, anyone in injustice in terms of land compensation would be heard and problems solved. There is a committee for the review of compensation under the leadership of the Home Secretary.

Some Rs 27 billion has been spent so far for the land compensation. Arughat bazaar and Arghe bazaar of Gorkha and Khahare bazaar of Dhading has recently been provided compensation. For the compensation, the government has allocated Rs 14 billion in the current fiscal year. The project is of 1,200 MW capacity. A French company had submitted the detailed project report to the government in 2014.  (RSS)

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