MCA-Nepal organized a half-day District-level Consultation Program at the DCC Hall in Parasi district on 20 Nov 2019 with an overall objective to share information on MCA-Nepal and the ETP, focusing on its activities in Parasi. The participants were heads of various government entities in the district, Members of Central and Provincial Parliaments, local government representatives from affected municipalities and wards, NGO Federations, media and other concerned stakeholders on the subject matter.
The main objective of the event was,
- To generate awareness among local stakeholders about MCA-Nepal and the importance of the ETP project
- To sensitize district government agencies, people’s representatives and local stakeholders on the potential social and environmental impact of project activities and mitigation measures adopted
- To build a common understanding and consensus among stakeholders about safeguard policies in place for affected communities
The event started with an introduction about the agency by Mr. Khadga Bisht and its governance structure under the Ministry of Finance. He also shared the background of Millennium Challenge Corporation’s work around the world, highlighting the reason Nepal was selected for a 500 million USD grant by MCC and the process undertaken by the Government of Nepal to identify the projects and declaration of ETP as a national pride project. He also talked about the CPs and the status of the program. Mr. Bisht also shared the inter-relationship between electricity consumption and economy citing examples of Asian countries like Bhutan and Laos in his presentation. He explained the status of energy consumption and protection in Nepal and challenges in the development of transmission lines. In his last presentation, Mr. Bisht shed light on some of grievances regarding the alignment of the transmission line received from Parasi district and explained the process and ways of addressing them.
Sharing the probable impact of the project in the lives of people and the environment, Mr. Shyam Upadhyaya highlighted the opportunities in employment, industrial and economic growth. Additionally he informed participants on how different international and national policies will be followed for the environment and social protection activities.
Mr. Rajendra Thanju presented on the safeguarding policies of the project which focuses on protecting the people and environment and enhancing environment sustainability. The Chief Guest of the program, Mr. Harijan acknowledged the importance of electricity transmission lines and the construction of electricity sub-station in the national context and emphasized that there should not be injustice against local people in the process of the implementation of the national pride project.
Presiding over the event, Mr. Ray, the Chief of District Coordination Committee mentioned that a win-win situation should be created for both of the parties to the project i.e. the government and land-owners regarding land acquisition and compensation issues. Ms. Bhagawati Devi Bhandari, a parliamentarian at the Provincial Parliament of Province No. 5 recalled the days when she herself was a victim of a compensation process in a project implemented by the government earlier and appealed to the management to pay attention to provide sufficient compensation to the affected people.
The Special Guest of the program Mr. Marasini, the CDO of Parasi district stated that the compensation distribution against the land acquisition was going to be the most challenging task in the process, but the project should not be disturbed in the name of ‘Sufficient Compensation’. He also provided commitment to ensure necessary support for a project that has been identified as a national pride project by the government.