Public hearing on Budhigandaki's EIA soon
KATHMANDU, Dec 28: Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project Development Committee has decided to organize public hearing Dhading and Gorkha districts as part of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the 1,200-megawatt hydropower project. The dates, however, have not been finalized yet. Gopal Basnet, executive director of the committee, said they will share details of both positive and negative impacts of the project with the locals. He also said they will also present a conceptual idea on resettlement of project-affected people and proposed sites for resettlement.
Tractebel Engineering, a French consultant, has prepared EIA report along with detailed project report (DPR) of the reservoir project that is expected to bail the country out of the chronic power crisis. According to the preliminary report, the reservoir of the project, which will be spread over 63 sq km, will be 15 times larger than the Fewa Lake. It will displace 3,560 households. Similarly, a total of about 45,000 people of 8,117 households will be affected physically and economically by the project. “Feedbacks of local people on EIA will be collected during the public hearing,” added Basnet.
After incorporating feedbacks of the locals in the EIA, the project will submit it to the Ministry of Environment via Ministry of Energy for final approval. Meanwhile, a separate team deployed in coordination with the Ministry of Land Reforms and Management is conducting verification of private land in both Gorkha and Dhading districts to prepare final record of land plots that will be inundated by the reservoir.
Sources say the consultant has already received comments from the committee and other government agencies on DPR. It plans to give final shape to DPR very soon submit its final report to the committee. The consultant also has prepared bid documents for three different packages of construction works. Though progress in DPR and EIA is in the final leg, the government has not been able to finalize development modality to execute the project. Some say the project has to be executed by the committee itself, while other say a company with an efficient working modality should be formed for the purpose. Committee's Chairman Laxmi Prasad Devkota said the indecision over development modality might affect works of the mega hydropower project.
Parliament's Agriculture and Water Resources Committee had, last week, directed the Ministry of Energy to decide on development modality at the earliest. The estimated cost of the project is Rs 250 billion including land acquisition cost which has been calculated at Rs 58 billion.