‘Company model’ for Budhigandaki Hydropower project: Energy Minister

Published On: October 5, 2016 09:10 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Oct 4: Energy Minister Janardan Sharma says the Budhigandaki Hydropower Project will be developed using a ‘company model’, in place of its current development committee modality.

The company modality will be more efficient and less susceptible to influence from political intervention and the company will operate independently, the minister said. 
The Detailed Project Report for the reservoir project with 1,200 MW capacity was completed last year but the development modality has not been decided yet. A resettlement plan for families that would be displaced by the reservoir has also not yet taken shape.

“The government will invest in the project and also collect investment from the people affected by the project as well as the general public,” Sharma told media persons on Tuesday. 

Downstream benefit of the reservoir project is important and India will benefit at least in two ways -- control of flow will help protect from flooding and there will be more water during dry months for irrigation. 

Sharma says development of the project should continue while at the same time diplomatic initiatives should be taken with India to increase benefit-sharing as a large area inside Nepal will be submerged by the reservoir. Sharma recently visited locals in the proposed area and assured that land-acquisition and compensation-payment will be done soon. 

The model to develop Nalsing Gad Hydropower project, another important reservoir plant in the plan, will be public private partnership, Sharma said, adding that the project should be upgraded to 1,200 MW. A Detailed Project Report for this project is under way.

Two reservoir projects are important particularly for addressing the gap in energy supply between dry months and wet months. 

Recently, the Ministry of Energy took an initiative to set up separate company models to build hydropower projects. As per the plan, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will develop at least six projects using a separate company owned by NEA.

NEA’s board on Sunday decided to develop the 335-MW Upper Arun, 200-MW Tamor, 300-MW Uttarganga, 300-MW Dudhkoshi, and the 87-MW Tamakoshi V by setting up separate companies. MoE also has a separate plan to establish Bidyut Utpadan Co Ltd to build mega-hydropower projects.

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