CIAA tells govt to scrap 10 hydropower licenses

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    CIAAKATHMANDU, Sept 5 :The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on Friday directed the Ministry of Energy (MoE) to scrap survey licenses of three and power generation licenses of seven hydropower projects with collective capacity of 566.5 megawatts.

    The anti-graft body´s directive comes amid growing trend among hydropower promoters of holding licenses without making any progress on project implementation. The survey licenses of three projects have already expired, but the energy ministry has neither scrapped the licenses nor has taken action against the promoters. In its directive, the CIAA has expressed grave concern over the ´indecisiveness´ of the energy ministry.

    The CIAA has directed the energy ministry to scrap the survey licenses of Bhotekoshi-5 (60 megawatts), Buku Khola (6 megawatts) and Karuwa Khola (36 megawatts). Similarly, it has directed the ministry to scrap power generation licenses of Lower Arun (400 megawatts), Chaharekhola (17.5megawatts), Upper Mailung Khola (14.3 megawatts), Upper Solu Khola Sano (18 megawatts), Midim Khola (3.4 megawatts), Upper Khoranga Khola HPP (6.8 megawatts) and Lower Indrawati (4.5 megawatts).

    “Survey licenses expire in five years but the energy ministry has neither scrapped the licenses nor taken the action against the license holders,” Govinda Bahadur Shrestha, investigation officer at CIAA said. CIAA has been conducting investigation into survey licenses and power generation licenses of 83 hydropower projects since January.

    The anti-graft body has also directed the energy ministry to take action against six officials of the ministry and Department of Electricity Development (DoED) for ´haphazardly´ issuing licenses. |

    The six officials recommended for departmental action are former director general of DoED Anup Prakash Upadhayay, former joint secretary Ravi Sharma Aryal, Deputy Director General Sundar Shyam Shrestha, divisional engineers Gokarnaraj Pantha and Rameshraj Sthapit and engineer Durganarayan Bhusal. Upadhayay is currently secretary at the President´s Office.

    “We have asked the energy ministry to take departmental action against the officials in line with the Civil Service Act,” CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki´s Press Advisor Om Bandhu Karki told Republica.

    “Licenses of such hydropower companies failing to submit the progress report on time are lobbying for renewal of their licenses, said CIAA Investigation Officer Govinda Bahadur Shrestha at a press meet at the CIAA headquarters.

    “We have asked the MoE to scrap ´conditional´ generation licenses of all projects and to take prompt action against top officials of the ministry and DoED for issuing licenses randomly. This is also serious breach of the existing laws,” CIAA Spokesperson Shreedhar Sapkota said.

    DoED issues licenses to developers on certain terms and conditions.

    Source : Republica