Panel: land acquisition to end in a year
- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu Post
Jul 24, 2016- Land acquisition for the 900MW Arun III Hydropower Project has moved a step ahead, with the price determination committee under the coordination of chief district officer (CDO) of Sankhuwasabha planning to complete the process within a month. The committee has conducted a few rounds of informal talks with the locals and plans to determine the rates very soon, officials involved in talks said. According to a source at Investment Board Nepal (IBN), the CDO informed a group of visiting IBN officials that the committee will fix the rates for 49 hectares of private land plots to be acquired within a week and start formal negotiations with the locals. There are 391 private land parcels, including 112 in Diding, 82 in Yaphu, 147 in Num and 50 in Pathivara VDCs. The project will also be acquiring houses, cowsheds, huts and plants on those land plots. “The price determination committee has already carried out a few rounds of dialogues with the locals to be displaced,” said Khagendra Rijal, under-secretary at IBN. “The committee informed us that the locals were very positive about the project. It is confident of completing land acquisition within a month.”As the locals have agreed on a resettlement action plan put forth by the developer, the land acquisition will be easier, according to the IBN source. “There has been verbal agreement with the locals to open joint bank accounts of landowners and his/her spouse to transfer payments,” said Rijal. “The developer has also agreed to reimburse travel and lodging costs of the landowners incurred while visiting the district headquarters to collect the payment.”A tri-party agreement on the resettlement plan was signed between IBN, SJVN and the locals of Sankhuwasabha in February. The plan complies with the Asian Development Bank’s “safeguard standard” and the affected people will be compensated as per the international relocation and resettlement standard.