Thursday, July 31, 2008

Plan to resettle West Seti-affected soon

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, July 28:

The West Seti Hydro Limited (WSHL) is going to start a resettlement programme soon for over 14,000 people affected by the 750-MW power project in the far-western region.

“We will meet the locals soon with a concrete plan on what we can do for them to make the project a success,” said WSHL advisor Eddie Barendse, also the chief of the resettlement programme.

Following this, several teams of the project are scheduled to hold meetings at the local levels on the project’s $100 million resettlement programme on Thursday.

The project’s representatives will discuss with three local groups — West Seti Concerned main committee, committee of downstream affected groups and people living near the powerhouse’s site.

Talking to this daily, Barendse said, “Our study found that the local people are ready to contribute their land once they get reasonable compensation and over 80 per cent of them want to shift to Tarai districts.”

According to a project’s study, a total of 14,378 people of 1,680 households in four districts — Baitadi, Bajhang, Doti and Dadeldhura — will be affected by the construction of around 20 sq km reservoir of the project. Of them, 1,202 families need to be shifted to Kailali and Kanchanpur, the study stated.

Sociologist of the project Dr Saroj Adhikari said the resettlement programme supported by the Asian Development Bank would benefit the marginalised communities.

Under the scheme, poor or vulnerable group having one or two ropanis of land would get either 23.19 ropanis of irrigable land or 38.92 ropanis of land in the Tarai.

[2008 July 30]