KOHALPUR, June 21: As many as 300 Nepalis have been employed at a unit set up for producing cement and iron pipes for a tunnel for the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose project.
China Overseas Engineering Group, the contractor building the mega project, has been hiring local manpower for the unit since mid-May. The unit was set up at Hattikhal of Bheriganga municipality Ward No 8, according to contractor’s officials. The unit has started production of cement and iron pipes required for 12 km of tunnel works.
Li Changyong, who is in charge of the group, says priority was given to locals while hiring. “Laborers are paid Rs 15,000 per month while the salary of mason and supervisors is set at Rs 21,000 per month,” Li Changyong adds. The unit id set up in 70 ropani of land.
Parashu Ram Acharya, a local of Bheriganga municipality, says those employed in unit are mostly from Surkhet, Bardiya and Banke districts, and they were encouraged by the job opportunity.
The unit will operate for five years. The company has also built 8 km of graveled-road to reach the project site.
Sudhan Basnet, chief consultant of the project, says the job opportunity has encouraged the people a lot. “People who have got jobs in unit with a pay-range of Rs 15,000 to Rs 21,000 are happy,” Basnet says.
The company has also built roads and bridges and installed drinking water systems and solar lamps in the project area.
The start of construction of the mega project has spurred economic activity in the area. Local eateries have expanded while the number of land transactions has also increased in the area.
Another 150 Nepalis are employed in main construction work and another 23 engineers from China are engaged in the project.
The Bheri River will be diverted to the Babai River through a 12-km tunnel and also generate 48 MW of electricity. The project, with a total cost of Rs 16 billion, will also irrigate about 51,000 hectare of land thorough the year.