Protest blocks Butwal drinking water project

- AMRITA ANMOL, BUTWAL

Apr 7, 2016-

The Butwal Drinking Water Upgrading Project has run aground following obstructions from locals. The Rs195.6-million scheme has targeted supplying 8 million liters of drinking water daily to parched Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City. 

The drinking water project, which was launched five years ago, will bring water from the Jhumsa Khola in Palpa to Butwal. Mohan Dutta Bhatta, chief of the Drinking Water Corporation, Butwal, said they had to stop the project after locals put forth various demands. “Most of the demands cannot be fulfilled by the project,” he added. 

Residents of Koldanda and Dovan village development committees have asked the project to construct irrigation canals, water supply systems, roads and dams in their areas. The estimated cost of these schemes crosses millions of rupees. As per the project, the local people have been creating hurdles since last month. Bhatta said they were unable to fulfil all of their demands. “Building a dam alone will cost Rs10 million,” said Bhatta, adding that they had been receiving such demands almost every year since they started the project. 

Earlier, locals had submitted a memorandum to Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel saying that they should be paid a royalty of Rs1 million annually for providing water to the project.

Last year too, the people had forced the project to stop the construction work for three months. The project has paid a compensation amount of Rs145,000 to the people whose land would be used to lay the pipeline. 

This is not the first time that the drinking water project has encountered opposition from locals. Two decades ago, the Sisne-Butwal Drinking Water Project had to shut down after having spent Rs30 million. The project has been revived in its new form after deciding to obtain water from the Jhumsa Khola.  

Meanwhile, Butwal Sub-Metropolitan City said it would help the project to resume work.Executive Officer Dhruba Bahadur Khadka said they had initiated moves to resolve outstanding issues. Butwal’s drinking water requirement amounts to 30 million litres daily while supplies total 19 million litres.

Published: 07-04-2016 10:02

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