Damak: The construction of the Damak Industrial Park in Jhapa, Nepal has been Stalled by China for a long time. The project which was supposed to give employment to one lakh people and bring revolution in the industrial sector, is facing protests by locals for the low compensation provided to them for land acquisition, reported epardafas.com, an online magazine based in Kathmandu.

The report claimed that about 10 years have passed since the decision to build the park, eight years have passed since the acquisition of land and two years since the foundation stone was laid, but the work has not yet progressed. The locals have also been expressing dissatisfaction over the agreement for the construction of the park that was supposed to be built under the Belt and Road Initiative of China (BRI).

On February 28, 2021, then-Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli laid the foundation of the park. However back then the locals were excited about the project. The report claims that the project soon became the centre for corruption and irresponsibility on the part of the Chinese side.

The report quotes Industrial Zone Management Limited which claims that for the project only half of the land has been acquired. As the park was supposed to be built on 2,100 bighas of land (one bigha = 6,772.63 square meters) from Damak, Gaurahadaha, and Kamal Rural Municipality.

The Investment Board for the Park approved the investment worth 64.41 billion in the first phase. On 4 October 2019, an agreement was reached between the Investment Board and the Lhasa Economic and Technological Development Zone Investment Development Company for the construction of the park.

According to the report, The Park Construction Agreement was signed by Board Chairman Maha Prasad Adhikari and Park Chairman Gobind Thapa. However, even though so many processes have been completed for the construction of the project, however, no progress has been witnessed still.

According to the Land Acquisition Act, the recommendation committee with the land surveyor under the coordination of the Chief District Officer has fixed the rates of three types of land. Accordingly, the price per bigha has been determined.

However, the Chairman of the Damak Clean Park Struggle Committee, Khagendra Bhattarai, says "They cannot give land as per the valuation as it is assessed 80 per cent less than the government rate". The agitated locals had also filed a case against Industrial Area Management Limited regarding the matter in the Supreme Court which still remains to be heard.

It must be noted that if the plan of the project is implemented as Chinese companies will benefit from this project, locals will be forced to lose land at the beginning. According to the agreement the construction of the project will take 10 years. Then it be operated by China for 40 years before being handed over to Nepal.