DOLKHA, August 19: The administration and the chief district officer (CDO) along with various groups have obstructed the foreign contractor company, which spent 11 years in Nepal to build the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project (UTHP), from returning home.
While trying to return home after completing all legal processes regarding their vehicles, equipment, machines and tools used in the construction of the project, they were obstructed in the name of various groups along with the Dolakha administration on the order of the CDO. Thus, SinoHydro Corporation, a Chinese civil contractor, has lodged a complaint at the Ministry of Home Affairs against the alleged groups and the CDO.
The UTHP had written a letter to the District Administration Office on July 26, demanding security from the alleged groups and administration. In the letter, the contractor requested the government to allow it to leave the project site along with the equipment, vehicles and other belongings without any hindrance.
However, a high-ranking official of the project said that the transportation of the contractor's material from the project site has been stopped for the past two months due to ‘orders from above.’ "Over the past two months, the Chinese company has been urging the government to create an environment for the relocation of its vehicles, equipment and machinery," the official said. “Despite the contractor's insistence that the company's goods worth tens of millions of rupees should be taken away, various groups are creating troubles and bargaining with the contractor. We are surprised that the contractor’s belongings are stuck at the site due to the order from the CDO.”
“We tried to certify and send the goods after repeated requests from the Chinese company to the project site in Tanahun and Nuwakot. The materials included 29 types of goods such as batching plants, machines, dozers, tipper trucks, loaders and trucks,” the officer said. “But for some selfish reasons, the police have been stopping them on the orders of the chief district officer,” he said.
In the letter written by the hydropower project to the administration, they have demanded security from obstruction that took place from Lamabagar to Singti and Charikot by various groups. A representative of SinoHydro said that the obstructing groups demanded transportation of the rest of the contractor's goods and demanded a high price for the wastes coming from the project site.
The project has stated that the contractor company can sell its goods and equipment by auction after completing the legal process. However, according to the source, the people in power including the administration are bargaining for the same goods that are worth tens of millions of rupees.
“Though the administration was requested to make a peaceful arrangement for the contractor to return home, they did the opposite,” said the project official. Due to this, the contractor filed a complaint at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Energy.
The project had earlier sent information to the district administration that 20 trucks, 10 grouting machines, 2 large batching plants and other large equipment of the main contractor SinoHydro were at the project site. They were preparing to transport those equipment from the Upper Tamakoshi site to the Tanahu Hydropower Project, Upper Trishuli A and Sanjen Khola projects.
“We are clear about contractor’s equipment and project’s site waste”
Chief Executive Officer of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, Bigyan Prasad Shrestha, claimed that the project was clear about the private property of the contractor as well as about the wastes from the project. “The ownership of the project is separate, the process includes auction through a tender,” he said.
“The contractor has claimed that he should be allowed to take his goods back. At first, the construction equipment as well as the machines will be checked by the consultant and the project will allow him to recertify on his recommendation,” said Zikir Shrestha. He added that the project is working to complete all the procedures for that.
“We have not obstructed”
Meanwhile, CDO Basudev Ghimire claimed that he had not obstructed the contractor company of the Upper Tamakoshi project from returning from the project site. "No vehicles have been stopped in any way. How can I stop it?" he asked. “We will provide security if the contractor company is in trouble or if there is any problem while transporting the goods, but the goods have not stopped moving”
Bhesraj Rijal, chief of the District Police Office also claimed that the police have not obstructed the movement of the contractor's goods from the site. “They can always communicate with us if they need any type of security,” he said. “We cannot just stop them.” He clarified that the police had only checked the documents of the trucks to make sure that they had moved with the permission of the UTHP.