WALLING – Five political parties in Syangja district have come together against the Kaligandaki River Diversion Project. The five political parties active in the district have said their serious attention has been drawn to the establishment of the office of the Kaligandaki-Tinau Diversion Multipurpose Project development and they are all ready for the struggle.
The Nepali Congress, the CPN (Maoist Centre), the CPN (UML), the Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal and the Rastriya Janamorcha issued a statement on Monday, stating that the office was established forcibly when it was crystal clear that the Project was against the interest of the nation. “It is ill-intended,’’ they argued.
NC officiating president Buddhi Bahadur Rana, CPN Maoist Centre’s district coordinator Shailendra Ghimire, CPN (UML)’s chair Ram Chandra Bhattarai, Janata Samajbadi’s chair Shyam Dhakal and Raastriya Janamorcha chair Rajendra Gaire have jointly signed on the statement.
According to Rana, the five active political parties in Syangja have drawn serious attention to the plan to divert the natural course of Kaligandaki River, remaining as the place of origin of the ancient human civilization and the heritage of Sanatana culture. “The Kaligandaki is the sole river in the world where Shaligram (the ammonite stone) is found.”
The project is being carried out going against the spirit of federalism and without a comprehensive study of social, cultural, natural and environmental, economic aspects as well as in-depth discussions and consultations with stakeholders,” he said.
CPN (Maoist Centre) district coordinator Ghimire warned that many people residing around the Kaligandaki reservoir will be badly affected by the mega project and the project also posed grave threat of desertification of the arable land.
The project, claimed Ghimire, is not in the best interest of the country and poses risks of displacement of the people around the reservoir areas and incurring excessive economic loss. “Establishment of the Office for the Project to run the multipurpose project is ill-intended,” he ranted.
The estimated Rs 138 billion Project aims to provide irrigation facilities across 54,000 hectares of land in Kapilvastu and 53,000 hectares in Rupandehi district. Furthermore, the multipurpose project also envisions producing 126 megawatts of electricity by diverting the water of the Kaligandaki river to the Tinau through a 38 kilometres long tunnel.
The statement reiterated the commitment of the protesting political parties to go against this project which they claimed did not secure national interest. The statement appealed with the concerned parties to be ready for further stern struggle and to raise voice more eloquently against the Project if need be.
Kaligandaki River flows from Syangja, Parbat and Setibeni Shila (the source of the River) in Gulmi to Syangja, Tanahu and Keladighat (the source) in Palpa district.
Discussions were held multiple times in the past to divert the water to Tinau River from Kaligandaki by the means of dam and diversion. But the locals in Syangja, Palpa, Tanahu and Nawalpur among others districts had and were still protesting the move.
Political parties and social organizations’ representatives attending the all-party meeting called by the Gandaki Province government in protest of the Kaligandaki Diversion Project had demanded with the government to stay put on the Project.