Construction of Budhiganga hydropower project has not started yet

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Achham – The Budhiganga hydropower project, which is seen as the proud project of the Far West, has not been able to proceed with the construction process. Although the study has been started since 1995 for the construction of 20 MW project, the construction process has not started yet.

A year ago, after evaluating the project and moving forward with the contract process, the Saudi investor rejected the proposal for the construction process saying that the project was not suitable for him. After the cancellation of the contract process which was prepared after about 8 months, the evaluation process has not been completed even after a year has passed.

For a long time, the main office of the project was located in Kathmandu. Due to the distance between the project site and the main office of the project, the main office has also been moved to Achham last July, following instructions from the Council of Ministers. Although all the manpower of the project is concentrated in Achham, the evaluation has not been prepared yet. According to Hari Khatri, SDE of the project, even though the tender process was started a year ago, the process was canceled due to various reasons. He said that it is in the final stage of going to the tender process after completing the evaluation work.

“Now all the manpower of the project is at a loss. We are preparing the official work and documents to be done on our behalf,” SDE Khatri said, “Since the project will start with the loan investment of the Gulf countries, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, it is a mandatory situation that the project will be allowed to work only after Saudi Arabia accepts the contract and other procedures for the project. In the agreement, it has been agreed that every activity of the project can be started only after Saudi accepts it.

SDE Khatri said that the process has been carried forward according to the standards demanded by Saudi Arabia. He is of the opinion that after this, there may not be a situation to reject. It has been many years since the project started. Initially, the preparation of DPR was delayed for 3 years. But it took 6 years to prepare the DPR,” Khatri said, adding that the project has been delayed due to many reasons such as the Saudis looking for documents they don’t want and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the construction and development of the project, a loan agreement of 6 billion Nepali rupees has been signed with the Saudi Fund for Arab Development on June 18, 2014. The Australian company Smack International Private Limited and the Nepalese company Uday Consultancy, which was given the responsibility to prepare the DPR in December 2016 after an agreement was signed on 29 June 2015, prepared the DPR only 1 year ago. The cost of preparing the DPR is about 19 million 91 million 33 thousand Nepalese rupees. The study started from 1995 for the construction of Budhiganga hydropower project with a capacity of 20 megawatts to be built by the government itself. According to the feasibility study and environmental impact assessment study completed in 1997, the estimated total cost is about 6 billion or 60 million US dollars in Nepali currency.

According to the project office, a loan agreement of 6 billion Nepalese rupees was signed with the Saudi Fund for Arab Development on June 18, 2014 for the construction and development of the project after studying the engineering design and environmental impact assessment. 1.8 billion) loan agreement has been done. It is mentioned in the loan agreement that the remaining amount will be borne by the Government of Nepal.

Source : Kantipur