Bhotekoshi ready to provide 5% shares to locals

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    KATHMANDU, Dec 2

    bhotekoshiThe 45 MW Upper Bhotekoshi Project, that has been shut down for four months with local leaders of political parties stopping erection of towers demanding 35 percent of shares, has agreed to provide five percent shares to the locals. The company, during dialogue with the local political leaders, has agreed to provide the shares to the locals at Rs 100 per unit.

    “We are ready to provide 1 million units of shares to the locals at the face value of Rs 100 per unit. We cannot provide more shares than that,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sipradi Trading PVT Ltd, sister organization of the company under Tara Management Pvt Ltd, Shambhu Prasad Dahal states. He says premium value of Bhotekoshi’s shares now has reached Rs 850 per unit. He argues that more than five percent shares cannot be provided as the project has already been in operation for 14 years, and hopes that agreement will soon be reached with the locals.

    He reveals that American company Harja International, that has five percent stake to complement Tara Management’s 95 percent, has disagreed on providing shares to the locals. “The agreement with government does not include any provision to provide shares to the locals. We have agreed on this due to our belief that we should make some contribution for using natural resources,” he adds.

    CEO of the project Narendra Prajapati claims that over 150 million units of electricity has gone in waste due to closure of the project for four months, and the project has suffered a loss of almost Rs 1 billion during the period. The project has been affected after the landslide flood in Jure of Sindhupalchowk on August 2 destroyed four towers. The project has not come back into operation after local leaders of Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) obstructed repair from September 19 demanding shares to locals.

    Load-shedding across the country has been extended by an hour every day due to shutdown of the project, according to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). Prajapati contends that 27 MW could be added to the national transmission system even during this season if the project were to be in operation. He claims that the project will come back into operation within three weeks if repair work were not obstructed. The project had started commercial generation since 2001. The project has already repaid all loans taken from different international banks and financial institutions to develop the project.

    The project generates 293.20 million units of electricity a year, and sells 40 million units out of that to the NEA at the rate of Rs 1.62 per unit. It sells the remaining electricity at a commercial rate of 10.50 cents (over Rs 10). The power purchase agreement (PPA) for the project is highly controversial as it was signed in US dollar. The NEA had signed the PPA for the project when the exchange rate was Rs 52 per unit of dollar.

    American company Panda Energy has developed the project in build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) model, and its generation license is for 40 years. Tara Management of Nepal procured 95 percent shares of the project in 2007.

    Source : Karobar Daily