News / 2 August 2011

West Seti dam has been put to a stop

After 15 years of massive campaign by many organisations from Nepal and abroad, led by Nepalese NGO WAFED, the plans for the construction of the West Seti Dam in Nepal have been shelved. In 2010 the campaign had already 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, and the rights of indigenous people living in the affected area. The decision of the government of Nepal not to grant permission for construction to Australian construction company Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) is yet another success.


The West Seti River flows through one of the least developed regions of Nepal. The dam would have destructed a huge amount of land and biodiversity, and prevented migratory fish species from reaching upstream spawning grounds. Apart from that, large groups of indigenous people, depending on the river and the surrounding area for their livelihoods, would have been displaced. These people would not have benefited at all, while 90% of the electricity was to be transmitted to India through a 230-kilometer transmission line.


Since Both ENDS has been working closely with WAFED in the past five years, we are of course very pleased with the outcome. Like WAFED, we hope that the Nepali government will not resume the West Seti project without doing thorough research to the effects on the environment. If the project is to be continued in the future, it should be redesigned as a multi-purpose project for electricity, irrigation and flood management, instead of only for electricity generation and export to India.




Photo: Rajkumar 1220

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