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Marsyangdi blues

Saturday, July 27th, 2013
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Construction work on the 50 MW Upper Marsyangdi Hydroelectricity Project has been stopped because of protest and vandalism by locals.

The majority investor Sino Hydro of China sent letters to the Chinese Embassy and representatives of political parties saying they faced losses of Rs 400,000 every day work was halted, and that repeated opposition by locals throughout last year made it unsafe to continue work.

Problems escalated this week after Akanchhya Tamang of Khudi, Lamjung, was swept away by the swollen Chhahare River on Saturday. Angry locals vandalised five cars, two loaders, and one excavator belonging to the company saying the child died because the company did not built a bridge on the river as agreed.

The company then agreed to provide Rs 1,000,000 as compensation but said nobody had yet owned up to the Rs 5,000,000 damage to their equipment and that police hadn’t even bothered to start investigations.

At a meeting on Friday, political parties active in Lamjung decided they would do everything to get construction restarted. Two km of the 6.7km long tunnel has already been dug.

The 50 MW run of the river project will cost an estimated Rs 10 billion, of which Sino Hydro invested 90 per cent and Nepali company Sagarmatha Hydropower financed the rest, and is expected to be completed within five years.

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