Betan Karnali applies to build hydropower plant

Sep 14, 2018-

State-owned Betan Karnali Sanchayakarta Hydropower Company has applied to the Department of Electricity Development (DoED) for a generation licence to develop a 48 MW hydropower plant at the Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project.

The hydropower plant is the second component of the irrigation-cum-hydropower project being executed by the Department of Irrigation. Betan Karnali’s application has confused the DoED, and it has passed the buck to the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.

“As Bheri Babai is executing the irrigation component of the multipurpose, we thought the hydropower component would also be developed by it,” said Nabin Raj Singh, director general of the DoED. “But after another government-owned company applied for a licence, we are seeking suggestions from the ministry before making any decision.”

Shree Ram Shekhar Adhikari, company secretary of Betan Karnali, said they had applied for the permit as there were no takers. “We have applied for the licence because we want to develop the project,” said Adhikari. “If the department grants us the licence, we will execute the project.”

Sajib Baral, project chief of the Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project, said they were going ahead with the construction of the project and they needed no licence. “As it is a government-owned project and the Department of Irrigation is implementing it, we don’t have to get a licence from the DoED,” said Baral. “We will be inviting global tenders to appoint a contractor and consultant for the construction of the hydropower component of the project.”Bheri Babai is an irrigation-cum-hydropower generation project which will use a 12-km tunnel to divert water from the Bheri River to the Babai River to irrigate farmland and generate electricity. China Overseas Engineering Group, the contractor appointed to execute the irrigation component of the project, has completed digging 7.5 km of the 12-km tunnel using a tunnel boring machine. The project is using the machine to dig a tunnel for the first time in the country.

Bheri Babai is located in Bheri-Ganga Municipality in Surkhet district in western Nepal. It will have a 15-metre high dam and divert 40 cubic metres of water per second from the Bheri River to the Babai River. The water will be used to irrigate 51,000 hectares of land round the year in Banke and Bardia districts and generate 48 MW of electricity.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs16 billion. It is expected to make an indirect financial contribution of Rs3.1 billion to the state, and a direct revenue contribution of Rs2.1 billion through electricity sales annually.

Source: The Kathmandu Post