KASKI, JUNE 28
Gandaki Chief Minister Krishna Chandra Nepali warned that they would in no way allow Kaligandaki’s diversion plan to succeed as it was introduced by undermining the thoughts of the province.
Receiving memorandums yesterday presented on behalf of various organizations, including the Hindu World Federation, he said they would resort to protest if the federal government ignored their demands. “We will not tolerate the bragging efforts of the federal government against the sentiments of the people of the province. We can go so far as to bring all the inhabitants of the province to the streets if necessary.
“It was an act in violation of the constitution and an attempt to weaken federalism in the country,” said the CM, adding that the project had been undertaken without taking into account the sharing of natural resources. The water flowing through the Rapti and Tinau rivers is sufficient to irrigate the lands in Rupandehi and Kapilvastu, he said, saying the plan was proposed to serve the vested interests of other actors.
Gandaki province today called an all-party meeting to form a common opinion on the diversion project. Government spokesman and Minister of Education, Culture, Science, Technology and Social Development Kumar Khadka said the project has no connection with its investment and potential benefits.
Minister Khadka called it a dishonest act to propose the Kaligandaki river diversion project, compromising its cultural, tourist, economic and political importance.
Devghat will run dry in winter if its water is mixed with that of Tinau, as is now being proposed, he said, accusing the government of failing to implement the previous plan to provide irrigation facilities to Nawalpur and to ensure the safety of Devghat. “To make another attempt which can put a lifetime here in difficulty is a dishonest act,” he remarked.
He said Chitwan National Park would also bear the brunt of the proposed project interventions and that endangered animals like crocodiles would be at risk if Kaligandaki was diverted to Tinau, the member of the State Assembly and chairman of the Nepalese Congressman in Nawalpur, Bishnu Prasad Lamichhane, said residents had protested against the project. from the very beginning, but the central government continued to ignore their concerns.
Former lawmaker and Kaligandaki conservation campaign leader Shanker Pandey said the project would hurt the feelings of Hindus and was hostile to the region’s ecosystem as well.
The head of the Kedareswor Mahadev Mani Sewashram Samiti Lekhnath Acharya, the president of the Rastriya Brahaman Society and the Academic Assembly Narayan Adhikari, the central vice-president of the Hindu World Federation Shankar Kharal, Bindabasini Sanskritpeeth Pracharya Jagannath Regmi and the activist of the Kaligandaki Save Kularaj Chalise campaign, among others, claimed that the project was an attack on the feelings of Hindus and the Kaligandaki civilization and no one had the right to harm the environment and endanger biodiversity.
A version of this article appears in the June 29, 2021 print of The Himalayan Times.