Binod Singh Bista / Baited, Oct 15 (RSS): The development of the detailed environmental management plan or EMP of the Pancheswar Multi-purpose hydropower project has reached the final stage. Environment experts are now giving final shape to the plan by making an onsite visit to the areas affected by the Mahakali river, where the project will be based and by talking to the local residents.
A team of environmentalists, agronomists and sociologists led by the Shah Consultant International Private Limited is working on the EMP. Earlier, the study team had finalized the report of the study of the dam site based on the environmental impact assessment endorsed by the Government of Nepal. "The EMP is now being finalized following a long study by the expert team," environmental expert at the consultancy Ajaya Bhakta Mathema said.
The preliminary report from the team says that the second highest dam of the world to be built at Pancheswar of Baitedi is likely to have a big and extensive environmental and social impact, with around 994 hectares of land likely to be inundated and some 2,926 households displaced. "The project development and operation will likely bring a huge shake up in the social and environmental sector," social expert at the company Shiva Dhakal said.
The dam will however come with various benefits, including employment for thousands of people during the dam construction phase and long-term employment for the local people. Building of reservoir will also help increase agro production including fishery as well as tourism. It will ease people's livelihood and contribute to poverty alleviation, agro expert Gopi Krishna Sedain said. The EMP will also come up with sub-plans in order to address the likely impact mentioned in the plan including on water collection, pollution control, forest and soil conservation, wildlife protection, herbs management, agriculture support and tourism development. The EMP will be implemented by the Pancheswar Development Authority and its units, consultants, contractors and the expert team.