Families displaced by Bheri-Babai diversion project deprived of compensationMany affected families do not have land ownership certificates and those who have say the compensated amount is not enough.
More than a hundred families living in around 16 hectares of land across Lekbesi, Bheriganga and Gurbhakot municipalities in Surkhet district are affected by the Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project. The majority of the families do not have their land ownership certificates, which has deprived them from getting compensation from the government.
The Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project in western Nepal is an irrigation cum hydroelectricity project. The construction work of a dam is underway at Chiple in Bhangeri under the diversion project. The project has been compensating families whose houses are going to be inundated by the dam’s construction.
JB Sunar, chairman of the Bheri-Babai Diversion Concern Committee, said around 80 families are living without land ownership certificates in the three local units which are affected by the project.
“Residents of Lekbesi Municipality Ward No. 1, Bheriganga Municipality wards 8, 9 and 11 and Gurbhakot Municipality wards 13 and 14 are still to receive compensation since they do not have their land ownership certificates,” said Sunar.
So far, only 53 families who have land titles have received compensation.
According to Ishwori Prasad Tiwari, the senior divisional engineer of the project office, the project has distributed land compensation amount worth Rs 123.5 million so far.
“The government has not taken any decision on families who do not have land ownership certificates. We will have to await the government’s call,” Tiwari said.
The project has been providing Rs 400,000 to Rs 600,000 for a kattha of land as compensation to land owners with land ownership certificates
However, the ones who have received compensation for their land say the compensated amount is not enough and that this project is pushing them to a financial crisis.
Ude Kami, a local resident of Ward No. 9 in Bheriganga, says his main source of income is farming and without his land, his future is not secure.
“Rs 200,000 to Rs 400,000 is not enough money for us to begin a new life elsewhere. I think this is complete injustice for us,” he said.
Madhu Gurung, chairman of Ward No. 13 in Gurbhakot, says the families affected by the project have already drawn the attention of government officials.
“There are 15 households without land ownership certificates in our ward. We have reached out to higher authorities about this issue. The federal government has only been addressing the issues of those with land ownership certificates and have not given much thought to those without one,” Gurung said.