9 Hydropower Projects Face Permit Revocation Over Ministry of Forests and Environment Disputes

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KATHMANDU, Feb 15: The permits of nine hydropower projects with a total capacity of 461 megawatts are in risk of being revoked after they failed to get approval from national parks and conservation areas to conduct feasibility study.

The national parks and conservation areas under the Ministry of Forests and Environment have denied permission for the hydropower projects from conducting feasibility studies despite those projects receiving survey licenses from the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation. The projects that have already paid millions of rupees in royalties face the threat of revocation of their licenses.

A team of promoters of the affected projects led by Ganesh Karki, president of the Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN) on Monday met Deepak Kharal, secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Environment, and requested him to take necessary steps to solve the problems of these projects and facilitate them.

Promoter Sitaram Timalsina said that it is not fair to threaten to arrest the promoters just because the park officials are not satisfied with certain provisions.

According to IPPAN, the projects that are having problems in obtaining study permits from the parks and conservation areas include the Middle Ghunsa Hydropower Project with a capacity of 30 MW, the Upper Pelma Khola Hydropower Project with a capacity of 24.8 MW, and the Gumchhe Khola Hydropower Project with a capacity of 7.5 MW. Similarly, Ghunsa Khola Hydropower Project with 155 MW capacity, Lagang Khola Hydroelectric Project with 9.7 MW capacity, Yanma Khola Hydroelectric Project with 65.8 MW capacity have also not received permission for feasibility study.

Likewise, the Simbuwa River Hydroelectric Project with a capacity of 40 MW, the Langtang River Hydroelectric Project with a capacity of 20.3 MW and the Upper Barun River Hydroelectric Project with a capacity of 109 MW also face the prospects of their license being revoked.

Bharat Parajuli, a promoter of the Lagang river (Brahmaani A) hydropower project and a member of IPPAN, said that it is very sad that there is the same perception to view tree smugglers and hydropower promoters.

The promoters complained that they have paid royalties worth millions of rupees to the government in the last five years after receiving permits from the Ministry of Energy, but unfortunately they are unable to obtain study permits from the Ministry of Forests.

Secretary Kharal assured the IPPAN delegation that he would do all he can to address their problems.

Source: Republica