Rara Hydro accused of swindling funds and abandoning project

Published On: July 7, 2023 07:00 PM NPT By: Govinda KC

BIRENDRANAGAR, July 7: The operators of Rara Hydropower Development Company, currently constructing the project along the Parajuli River in Dailekh, have reportedly vanished, leaving local residents in a state of distress after having taken their money. Following a six-month suspension of work at the hydro power construction site, the operators absconded, leaving behind numerous grievances.

The locals have fallen victim to the hydro operators' scheme, as they were coerced into providing amounts ranging from Rs 100,000 to one million rupees under the false pretense of receiving shares without any compensation. Consequently, 65 households have been left without proper compensation, while approximately 85 individuals have invested over 50 million rupees in the company.

The Rara Hydropower Development Company's board of directors includes Narasimha Malla, Himendra Silwal, Shankhar Lal Baidya, and Mangal Bishwakarma.

Additionally, an astonishing amount of Rs 138.5 million, submitted by the contractor, remains unpaid for a staggering period of six years. The contractor has voiced his frustration, asserting that he is still awaiting the disbursement of 80 million rupees. Despite the contractual agreement entailing the contractor's receipt of Rs 138.5 million upon completion of the project, the outstanding sum of Rs 80 million has been withheld for an extensive duration. Deepak Shahi, representing Matap Group and Construction, expressed his discontent, stating that they have worked tirelessly for six years but they are yet to receive the aforementioned 80 million rupees.

Rara Hydropower Development Company, originally established to harness 2.5 megawatts of electricity from the Parajuli River in Dailekh and connect it to the national transmission line, has plunged into a state of turmoil and dismay among the local community. The company has swindled the hard-earned funds of the locals and delayed the project's progress for a staggering six years.  

The residents, who invested their savings in the hope of a promising future through hydropower, find themselves in a state of confusion and disillusionment. Rara Hydropower Development Company commenced operations eight years ago, with the intention of generating electricity from the Parajuli River, located on the border of Dungeshwar and Gurans Rural Municipality in Dailekh.

Under the guise of offering lucrative returns, millions of rupees were solicited from the locals in exchange of shares, promising substantial income from the extraction of 2.5 megawatts of electricity from the four-kilometer-long canal, connected to the national transmission line. However, due to the unavailability of the company's directors, the locals have been left deceived for a significant span of six years, as stated by Chakra Budha, a local resident.

To exacerbate matters, the company has failed to fulfill its financial obligations, including payment of wages to local workers, land compensation, procurement payments to contractors, and providing rations. The contractor, who has been patiently waiting for the company owners at the project site, laments that his assets are now being subjected to bank auctions.

Initially, the project was estimated to cost Rs 320 million. However, the expenditure has already surpassed Rs 420 million. It was decided to invest 50 million rupees in this hydropower project during the tenure of Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, the former Chief Minister of the Karnali Province Government.

As the operators of Rara Hydropower Development Company remain uncontactable, the structures constructed at the project site are deteriorating rapidly. Furthermore, materials intended for electricity production are being stolen and damaged.

Dharmi Budha, a local victim, emphasizes that although the community supported the project's construction without obstruction, the dishonesty of the company has become evident. “Urgent investigation and appropriate action are necessary to hold the company accountable,” he said.

When Republica attempted to get a response from the operators, they could not be reached.


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