- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu
May 24, 2016- The Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectric Project Development Committee (BGHPDC) has decided to conduct a study for a re-regulating dam planned to be built downstream of the project site. A board meeting of the committee held on Sunday has directed the management of the project to go ahead with the survey. “A 263-metre high dam will be built for the Budhi Gandaki project which will create a huge lake behind it, and there will be a vast amount of water flowing out of the power plant,” said Laxmi Prasad Devkota, chairman of the BGHPDC. “Therefore, a re-regulating dam is essential to manage the water flowing down from the project site.” The project plans to begin the study immediately. “We will now call for tenders and select a consultant to implement the study,” said Devkota. “As the board has delegated authority to the management, a tender notice will be published soon.” He added that a consultant would be appointed and the study would start within a few months.
Likewise, the board meeting decided to ask the government for funding to provide logistic support to the committees and sub-committees that have been formed to acquire land for the project. Currently, land acquisition is in progress for the 1,200 MW project which straddles Gorkha and Dhading districts in central Nepal. Two committees have been formed under the leadership of the chief district officers of Gorkha and Dhading respectively to implement the land acquisition programme. Likewise, seven sub-committees have been formed in each district to support these two committees. “Due to lack of funds, we have been unable to provide logistic support to the committees and sub-committees,” said Devkota. “We have asked for funding from the government through the Energy Ministry.” The Survey Office and Land Revenue Offices in Dhading and Gorkha have identified and demarcated the places that will be affected by the hydropower project as per the directive of the Ministry of Land Reform and Management. Similarly, the district administration offices (DAOs) of Dhading and Gorkha have published a land acquisition notice, prohibiting the ownership transfer of about 59,900 ropanis of land to be acquired by the project. More than 8,000 households will be affected by the massive project, according to the latest report by the project development committee. The report states that the reservoir of the storage-type project will submerge 3,560 homes and the residents will need to be resettled with proper compensation. Likewise, 4,557 households will be partially affected by the project and they will be paid compensation too. The project has not been able to move ahead as the government is yet to come up with a clear policy regarding the distribution of compensation payment for the land acquired from locals. The Budhi Gandaki project is expected to cost Rs250 billion. According to the BGHPDC, only Rs94.54 million or 2.8 percent of the Rs3.37 billion budget allocated for this fiscal year has been spent as of mid-May.