18 December 2016
Affected communities of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded Tanahu Hydropower Project today submitted a 26-point memorandum to Nepal’s Energy Minister Janardan Sharma informing on their concerns with the Project impacts and setting forth their demands.
In the memorandum, the Tanahu Hydropower Directly Affected Area Concerned Committee and Directly Concerned Inundation Area Conservation Committee have welcomed the Project for the sake of the country’s prosperity even though it has great impacts on their traditional lands, livelihoods and socio-economic life. They have alleged that the Project has deprived them of their right to formal information and misled the ADB by reporting up to 12 consultations when there has not been any meaningful consultation and not obtained consent though required by the ADB.
The memorandum calls on the Project, with copies furnished to relevant government authorities as well as the Project financiers –the ADB, European Investment Bank (EIB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to immediately fulfill their demands, which include provide a copy of the Resettlement and Indigenous Peoples Plan of the Project as well as ADB Safeguards Policy applicable to the Project, conduct meaningful consultations with the affected communities and include their representation in compensation fixation committee as well as to provide compensation for traditional lands of the communities to which the affected families do not hold legal title, among other demands.
After listening to the demands, Minister Sharma (not to be quoted) assured that the Project was for the people and our development, so the Nepal’s Government was always ready to help the local communities. He also said that though all the demands would not be fulfilled, their rights would also not be curtailed.
Parliamentarian of Tanahu district from Nepali Congress, the largest party in Nepal, Jhul Bahadur Ale (not to be quoted) was also present in the meeting and positive to the demands of the affected communities.
After meeting the Minister, the affected communities’ representatives went to the Project office in Kathmandu to submit their memorandum. However, since the CEO of Tanahu Hydropower Ltd was out of country, they filed their memorandum with the Deputy Manager, Chanda Ananda Raj Vaidya (not to be quoted). He informed about the works ongoing with the Project and took the demands positively and promised to respond to them shortly.
Earlier in November, the two bodies of the affected communities had submitted their memorandum to the local office of the Project.