Bhote Koshi losing Rs 8.6m a day as locals obstruct tower erection works

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    bhotekoshiSINDHUPALCHOWK, Oct 27: Bhote Koshi Power Company is losing revenue of Rs 8.6 million each day as locals continue to obstruct construction of transmission towers to link power generated by Upper Bhote Koshi Hydropower Project to the national grid.

    The project has stopped power generation for the past 86 days after the Kanle landslide swept away its four transmission towers in Ramche and Mankha VDCs.

    Locals have been obstructing works for the past one month putting forth various demands. Though the project started operation 13 years ago, locals are now demanding that they be given 35 percent of the company’s shares.

    “We have held meetings with the locals many times. But consensus is eluding us, “Narendra Prajapati, general manager of Bhote Koshi Power Company, said, adding: “We have sought help of the government as well as the political parties to create environment conducive to resolve the stalemate.”

    The project had started works to install towers from August 27, setting a target to start generation from October 26. Foundation works for the towers have already been completed. Similarly, the company has also taken steel structures to the site. But the works have come to a halt due to protest by the locals.

    “We would have started generation a week ago had locals not obstructed our works,” Prajapati added.

    The floods caused loss of around Rs 70 million to the company.

    Prajapati said the project has lost revenue worth around Rs 740 million so far. The project, which has so far been paying 2% royalty to the government, is required to pay 10% royalty from January.

    Locals formed the struggle committee in mid-September with the support of leading political parties like Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist). They have also been pressing the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to terminate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in US dollar that it has signed with the company.

    Prajapati told Republica that the demands raised by the locals cannot be addressed.

    “Demand for share allocation 13 years after the project started generation is unjustifiable,’ Prajapati said, adding, “Activities of locals do not relay positive message at a time when the country is looking to attract more foreign investments in the hydropower sector following the signing of Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with India.”

    The project started generation from 2001. The project generated 36 MW of electricity in the first 10 years of operation. It has been generating 45 MW since 2012. It has signed PPA in US dollar for 36 MW and in Nepali currency for the remaining 9 MW.

    Source : Republica