Arun 3 Hydropower Project Nears (70%) Completion in Sankhuwasabha

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Construction of the massive 900-megawatt Arun 3 hydropower project in Sankhuwasabha is nearing (70%) completion. Significant progress has been made on the dam, tunnel, and powerhouse, bringing the project closer to its operational stage.

Work on the dam located in Makalu rural municipality is well underway. Over 99% of the required excavation for the dam has already been completed. The 11-kilometer tunnel connecting the dam to the powerhouse has been successfully excavated, marking a major milestone in the project’s progress. Construction of the powerhouse in Pukhuwa Dobhan is also progressing steadily.

Barring any unforeseen obstacles, the entire project is anticipated to be completed within the next two years. This completion timeline brings positive news not only for the project itself but also for the surrounding communities. As per the Project Development Agreement (PDA), local residents will be eligible to receive project shares upon completion. The project is estimated to provide over 1.6 billion rupees worth of shares to the local community within a year of the project commencing commercial operation.

On a national level, Nepal is set to reap significant benefits from the Arun 3 project. The country will receive 21% free electricity from the project, with an estimated total cost of 1.04 trillion rupees. Furthermore, the project is expected to generate economic benefits exceeding 3.48 trillion rupees across various sectors. Additionally, directly affected families residing in the vicinity of the project will be entitled to up to 30 units of free monthly electricity after the project becomes operational.

The PDA stipulates the project’s handover to the Government of Nepal after 25 years of operation. Currently, the project employs around 4,000 workers, including both Nepalese and Indian citizens.

The Arun 3 project is just one of several major hydropower initiatives underway along the Arun River in Sankhuwasabha, a region recognized as a hub for hydropower generation. Upon completion of the Kimathangka Arun, Upper Arun, Arun 3, and Lower Arun projects, a combined capacity of 3,840 megawatts of electricity will be generated.

It’s important to note that Sutlej Jalvidyut Nigam is preparing to distribute compensation for land acquisition related to the 669-megawatt Lower Arun project. Similar to Arun 3, Nepal will also receive 21% free electricity from both Arun 3 and Lower Arun projects. The Upper Arun project (1,063 MW) is being undertaken by the Nepal Electricity Authority, while the Kimathangka Arun project has a current capacity of 454 megawatts.

The progress on the Arun 3 project signifies a significant step towards bolstering Nepal’s energy sector and fostering economic growth. The project’s completion will not only bring substantial benefits to the nation but also contribute to the development of the surrounding communities.