November 17, 2016 12:50 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Nov 17: The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has taken initiative to set land prices to acquire land needed for the Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project.
A meeting led by Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma held on Wednesday decided to categorize land and set price accordingly. The decision is expected to give expedite the land acquisition process which has been stalled since long.
All lawmakers from Dhading and Gorkha districts, chief district officers (CDOs) of both the districts, and officials of Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project Development Committee were present in the meeting.
CDO is the rightful authority to fix price of land to be acquired by development projects. However, the process to set land price had failed to move ahead as the lawmakers and political parties disowned the process.
The meeting also decided to prepare a list of houses, cowsheds, industries and plants in the areas that will be submerged under the waters of the reservoir of the 1,200-megawatt capacity project. The meeting also decided to provide project-affected people the option of choosing resettlement or compensation for their land and house.
Similarly, the meeting has decided to manage special compensation package for people living in public land or Guthi land as well as squatters.
Separate teams will be dispatched to set land prices in small towns like Arughat, Khahare and Arkhet, according to the minutes of the meeting circulated to media.
Similarly, the meeting also decided to build a Ring Road around the reservoir and resettle around 45,000 people to be displaced by the project.
Laxmi Prasad Devkota, chairman of Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project Development Committee, said that the decisions taken by Wednesday's meeting shows that all concerned parties are serious about the project.
It has already been a year since the detailed project report (DPR) and contract documents of the project were prepared. According to the DPR, the project will have 263 meters tall dam and its reservoir will be 15 times larger than the Fewa Lake.
However, the development modality as well as resources to finance the project, which is likely to cost US$ 250, is yet to be finalized.