Photo: Hari Krishna Gautam Water flowing from the underground construction site of the project's powerhouse.
MYAGDI, Oct 1: Locals have halted works at the project site of Mristikhola Hydropower Project (42 MW) at Narchyang village in Annapurna Rural Municipality-4.
Shyam Purja, president of Annapurna Youth Club, said locals halted all construction work from Saturday evening after the project showed lack of seriousness in management of water discharged from the outlet of the project's underground dam construction site. "Phedi village is facing the risk of landslide due to flow of water from the project's dam site. We decided to stop all construction works after the project management showed a deaf ear toward our demand," Purja added.
"The project design is faulty. It has put an entire village at risk. We made verbal and written requests with the project management. But they are not willing to listen to our demand."
High Himalaya Hydro Construction Pvt Ltd is overseeing construction of the tunnel and the powerhouse.
"Though the project's consultant earlier said that the management must listen to the request of locals, the management is not addressing it yet," Prakash Phagami, chairperson of Ward 4, said.
"Locals have only requested the project for proper management of water by using pipes and study the geology of the village land by bringing experts. This should not be a big deal for such a huge project," Phagami added.
Meanwhile, the project management has claimed that it was working on ways to manage water released from the dam construction site. It has claimed that the problem occurred after sudden eruption of natural spring in the underground dam site. The management also argued that flow of water from the dam has not put the Phedi village at the risk of landslide.
Dam Bahadur Pun, chairperson of Annapurna Rural Municipality, said that the project management should be sensitive toward demands raised by the locals. "Locals have supported the project so far," he added.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 5.64 billion. According to the project design, a dam will be built on the confluence of Nilgiri and Ghalemdi rivers to divert water to the powerhouse through 2,288-meter tunnel. More than 60 percent of work of dam, tunnel, powerhouse and installation of penstock pipe have completed so far, according to the project.