WAFED welcomes government decision to scratch West Seti license to SMEC

Thursday 23 February 2012

Date: 29 July 2011

Source: WAFED

Type: News Article

Keyword/s: hydropower, Asian Development Bank (ADB), West Seti electricity, electricity generation and export, public participation, industrialization, Nepal, India

Kathmandu-based Water and Energy Users’ Federation-Nepal (WAFED) welcomes the latest decision of the government to scrap the construction license of the Australian multinational, Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) as a result of our 15 years of massive campaign. On this occasion, WAFED extends its gratitude to all local, national and international campaign groups and the media for their support throughout in Nepal and abroad.

WAFED, under the leadership of West Seti-affected activist, Ratan Bhandari with our long-time water campaigner and lawyer Gopal Siwakoti ’Chintan’, has been campaigning for major reforms in this project both nationally and internationally if it was ever to be built. Last year, our campaign had forced the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to pull out from this project for its failure to comply with its own policy on information disclosure, public participation, environment, compensation and resettlement, as well as the rights of the indigenous people.

WAFED has also been demanding that the total supply of 750 MW hydropower be used for the electrification and industrialisation of the underdeveloped far west in particular, and to mitigate the load-shedding-hit country in general. WAFED with local people have been protesting the export of West Seti electricity to India when the whole country has been suffering either from total darkness or from 10-18 hours of load-shedding in the so called electrified areas of the country. Currently, over 60% of the 30 million people of the country still have no access to electricity.

WAFED’s other campaign issue was for India to agree on sharing co-riparian benefits from the huge amount of surplus irrigation water it receives free of cost through the only surviving Karnali River during the winter. To date, India has been using Nepal’s share of water from all the trans-boundary rivers and has never consented to benefit-sharing negotiations as per the demands of Nepal under existing international water resources law and India’s own intrastate practices.

WAFED now urges the Nepali government not to resume the West Seti project without resolving these problems and without redesigning it as a multi-purpose project for electricity, irrigation and flood management. License to SMEC was limited only for electricity generation and export to India.

Ram Chandra Chataut Chairperson

Contact: Ratan Bhandari, Co-ordinator, WAFED, ratan@wafed.org; ratanji@gmail.com, (0977) 9841485815

See online : http://www.wafed.org/index.php

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