Locals vandalize hydropower project amid fear that it will dry up water in their fields

Published On: December 11, 2022 10:16 AM NPT By: Narhari Sapkota

GORKHA, Dec 11: Locals have vandalized and set fire to a hydropower project claiming that its construction has damaged the Rainastar irrigation project in Lamjung's Rainas municipality.

According to the police, the office of Champawati Hydropower in Siranchok Rural Municipality-2, Pandeweshi of Gorkha was vandalized and set on fire on Saturday afternoon. This hydropower is being built with a plan to extract seven megawatts of electricity from the Chepe River that flows through the border of Lamjung and Gorkha.

"Hundreds of farmers who came from Lamjung side vandalized phones and vehicles at the project office on Gorkha side," said Gorkha police chief SP Kedar Khanal.

Krishna Paudel, a resident of Rainas, said that the farmers were angry as the project changed the statement and diverted water 200 meters from the canal. He said that the demand of the local people was ignored by the project. According to him, locals had discussed about how it would be a problem to bring water to the fields if water is poured below the canal,

Similarly, Paudel said that due to the construction of Champawati hydropower project, the fields spread over an area of 1,200 hectares will not have irrigation facilities. Stating that all locals gathered on Saturday because the project is working with utter disregard of farmers' demands, he said that consultations are being held among the locals to stop further work if immediate improvements are not made.

Even after the discussion, the project is continuing its work. Locals allege that it is working differently than the commitment it made earlier. Farmers also set two tippers, a motorcycle and an excavator into fire. SP Khanal said that the tipper was completely burnt.

The chairman of the project, Hariram Parajuli, said that there is no change in the statement and that the water falls below the mouth of the canal as discussed is false. "There is no such thing as water not going to the farm. We are working according to the schedule," he said.

The company said that such incidents will disrupt the construction work expedited to complete by mid-April 2023. Chairman Parajuli said that 70 percent works of the project have been completed so far. He said, "We will take legal action against the arsonists and vandals and seek compensation from them," he said.

SP Kedar Khanal said, "The incident is being investigated and the search is on for those involved." No one has been arrested. It is said that the police had a problem to ascertain who was directly involved in the large number of locals gathered at the hydropower project office. As the fire was started by the locals of Lamjung in the office towards Gorkha, the police had more problems in arresting those involved in the incident.

Leave A Comment