KATHMANDU: The Investment Board Nepal has approved the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) prepared by Sutlej-Arun Power Development Company (SAPDC) – the developer of Arun-3 Hydropower Project – for project-affected people in Sankhuwasabha district. The RAP, which was designed in line with the Asian Development Bank’s Safeguard measures, was endorsed by IBN in February after undergoing an extensive review. As per the PDA, the project developer is responsible for developing the RAP in line with national requirements and international standards to enhance the living standards of people displaced by the project. The framing of the RAP was closely monitored by IBN, which also played an active role in community engagements and during the consultation process. The developer shared the draft RAP with project-affected people at the local and central level before finalising it (in Besi in Diding VDC on 9 February, Yaphu on 10 February, Num Bazaar of Num VDC on 11 February and Gadhibazar of Pathibhara VDC on 13 February). The RAP was signed by SAPDC and the local project-affected people in last week of February 2016, in the presence of officials of IBN and the local administration.
The process of acquiring land for the Arun-3 project has gone very smoothly, because of the scientific arrangements for the compensation and resettlement of affected people contained in the RAP. The Compensation Determination Committee (CDC), headed by Chief District Officer of Sankhuwasabha, facilitated negotiations between landowners and the project developer to fix land prices. Land prices were fixed at NPR 825,000 per ropani for sloping land, NPR 907,500 for normal farm land, NPR 1.04 million for black cardamom land and NPR 1.2 million for paddy.
The project has acquired a total of 49 hectares of private land from owners of 391 private land parcels (112 in Diding, 82 in Yaphu, 147 in Num and 50 in Pathibhara). Compensation has been distributed to more than 95% of the total 269 affected people and, once land ownership has been clarified, the owners of the remaining 24 plots will receive compensation. According to Madhukar Khadka, a consultant from SAPDC, project-affected people have received NPR 27,000–37.1 million in compensation for their property. The local people are pleased with the land acquisition process. ♦