GMR starts distributing compensation payments
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Sep 15, 2017-GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower has started distributing compensation payments to locals whose land was acquired by the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project. The 900 MW scheme straddles Dailekh, Surkhet and Achham districts in western Nepal. Project officials on Thursday launched the payout by handing over a cheque for Rs2.68 million to Bhakta Thapa of Sattalla, Dailekh for his land. “We will continue distributing compensation to locals after transferring ownership of their land to the project,” said a project official. “We have assigned enough personnel to calculate, document and process the compensation payments.”
A meeting of project officials and the resettlement action plan committee held on Wednesday and Thursday decided to complete the entire compensation distribution process for 1,000 ropanis of private land by mid-March 2018. The distribution of compensation payments in Sattalla will be completed by February 2018.
“As there are some parcels of unregistered land at Bhairavsthan in Achham, it might take some time for the Nepal government to resolve the issue. Therefore, we have pushed back the completion deadline by one and a half months,” said the official. All the land title deeds kept at the Land Revenue Office in Achham district were destroyed during the Maoist conflict in 2002 when several government offices were torched.
A majority of landowners have re-registered their land at the Land Revenue Office, but some land parcels are yet to be registered. Nepal Investment Bank, which is handling the payout, has opened a branch office at the project site, and locals have been opening accounts there. The developer will issue a cheque to landowners and it will be deposited into their bank accounts.
Last November, the developer GMR sealed a land acquisition deal with the residents of Achham and Dailekh after completing the process of pooling private land required for the project. The company signed an agreement with the residents of Sattalla in Dailekh to pay Rs895,000 per ropani. Similarly, it has offered to pay Rs805,000 per ropani to locals of Bhairavsthan in Achham and Sigaudi in Dailekh. Although GMR was supposed to complete the compensation distribution process by June as per the initial agreement made with locals, the timetable had to be pushed back due to local elections. Subsequently, the onset of the monsoon further delayed the payout