West Seti hydro project in limbo
30 March 2015 | The Himalayan Times
DIPAYAL, MAR 29: For the past two decades, construction work has been halted at West Seti Hydro Project which has left locals disappointed. Laxman Bahadur Singh of Lamikhal in Doti, said the government had suspended construction of road, canal, and other development works. "The locals have been left in a lurch as the project is yet to start,” Singh complained. China-based Three Gorges Company had sought approval to carry out fieldwork in the project site. Officials from the government of Nepal, however, are reluctant to give their nod to the project unless a clear agreement is reached on allotment of shares and electricity to the Nepali side. While Investment Board Executive Officer Radhesh Pant is in favour of allowing the company to undertake the work, including field observation, Energy Minister Radha Gyawali and Energy Secretary Raj Kishor Kshetri are against giving permission to initiate work.
According to a survey, more than 2,500 families living in Lamikhal, Latamandau and Banlek of Doti, Belapur of Dadeldhura, Dhangadi of Baitadi and Deura of Bajhang will be displaced if the project is started. “Any progress in construction and development work will relieve locals as they have been stalled for long,” Ratan Bahadur Saud, of Dadeldhura, said. West Seti Main Concern Committee General Secretary Bishnu Chand said the halt to development had pushed the region backwards. Government and non-government organisations have stopped investing in infrastructure development of the area due to the West Seti project, he added. Constituent Assembly members in the region have accused the Energy Minister and Energy Secretary of standing against the project. The 750 MW West Seti Project is estimated to cost Rs 180 billion.