A company receives a license to operate sand and aggregate depot but runs an asphalt plant at the site instead. It adversely affects people’s health. It badly pollutes the environment and produces excessive noise when the plant is under operation. The locals knock the doors of the district administration office, go to the local government authorities too, but they are not listened to. They go up to the Singha Durbar to voice their concerns. Nobody listens to them. Tired and helpless, they acquiesce because they are threatened of life if they speak up. This is the situation in a town just a few kilometers from the capital city. The company in question is operating with abandon despite the protests from the locals and the locals are forced to keep quiet because reportedly there is a powerful political leader behind the company.
Republica has found that in Nakkhu of Lalitpur district there is an asphalt plant being run by Shailung Group of Companies, whose chairman is Sharada Prasad Adhikari. The plant has been running for more than four years and it is causing immense harm to the health and environment of the town. Locals have complained against it many times but they have been “threatened to be burnt alive in asphalt”. The plant owner has reportedly created such an environment of fear among the locals that they refuse to even discuss the impact the plant has had on their life fearing reprisals from the ‘goons hired by the asphalt plant,’ which emit carbon monoxide, sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide, that contribute to worsening level of pollution in the Valley. The houses around the vicinity are covered in black dust from the asphalt plant. The local authority, Lalitpur Metropolitan City, has asked the company to shut down the plant but to no avail. The cause of defiance to the authority by the company has been none other than the political connection: Sharada Prasad Adhikari is the landlord of the house where ruling Nepal Communist Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is residing.
This is one among the cases of how business people take advantage of their connection with influential leaders and also how big leaders allow business people close to them to take advantage of their connection. In either case, it is wrong and dangerous. The affected locals in Nakkhu are afraid to speak against the harms done to them because they think the asphalt plant is run by ‘Prachanda’s company.’ Such plant cannot be registered or operated inside the Metropolitan City but Shailung Group of Companies is doing just that. The government authorities should immediately shut down the asphalt plant to protect the health of the locals. Incidentally, Sharada Prasad Adhikari’s construction company was also found to be delaying the maintenance of Bhaktapur-Nagarkot section of the road. The locals of Bhaktapur had to resort to protests to get the works done. We wonder whether Pushpa Kamal Dahal even knows how people like Adhikari are abusing power in his name. If he has provided the protection to the company whose asphalt plant has caused harms to hundreds of people, he should also be answerable. Asphalt plant operation in Nakkhu is the result of ruling party according favor to the business people close to them. Party leaders may turn blind eyes to such practices at the cost of their own defamation.