The West Seti Hydroelectric Project is a 750 MW dam project in western Nepal (located in Baitadi, Bajhang, Dadeldhura and Doti Districts), which has been planned by an Australian company, Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC).
The estimated project cost is 1.2 billion dollars, and the project is expected to receive loans and political guarantees by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), Export and Import Bank of China, Bank of China, Infrastructure Leasing and Export Corporation (India), Industrial Bank of China, China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (SINOSURE). All the electricity produced will be transferred to India by the Power Trade Corporation (PTC).1 As a royalty, 10 % of the produced electricity (or equivalent cash) is expected to be provided to the Government of Nepal.2
This project has been set under Category A, as per the ADB Environment Policy, and the first Environmental Assessment (EIA) report was carried out in 1999. According to the EIA, 1,160 families (9,096 people) will be displaced due to the project.3 This EIA is currently under revision by SMEC, and is expected to be publicly available 120 days prior to the ADB Board approval (ADB Board approval is expected on December 20, 2007).4
Between July 6 to 15, 2007, Ratan Bhandari (Water and Energy Users' Federation Nepal, WAFED) and Yuki Tanabe (JACSES) jointly visited affected areas of the West Seti Hydroelectric Project (Deura, Mori Bagad, Lekam, Harada Khani, Dhungad, Talara and Talkot) and resettlement sites in Kailali District (Sandepani, Lamki and Narayanpur). Meetings5 and interviews with more than 200 local people (total) were held in these areas.
This short report has been made to spell out people’s concerns regarding the project and violations of ADB policies.