Defunct Likhu 4 hydro revived after 7 years


    The Likhu 4 Hydropower Project, which was abandoned by an Indian developer seven years ago, has been revived. The project languished in limbo due to an unresolved issue regarding the wheeling charge, or the energy export fee.

    The proposed scheme is located on the Likhu River in Ramechhap district. The powerhouse will be built in Khijidemba Rural Municipality in Okhaldhunga.

    Bhilwara Energy Limited of India had initiated the project in 2008. It was to be an export-based project, and the electricity generated would be supplied to India. The Indian promoter had expected to generate 120 MW of electricity.

    Work on the project came to a halt after a 20-km road from Halede to Dhobi in Ramechhap had been upgraded. The project developer had also built a new road from Dhobi to Limti in Okhaldhunga.

    The scheme was expected to cost Rs1.6 billion then.

    The estimated power output has now been revised downward to 52.4 MW by the new promoters. On Wednesday, the investors, Trilochan Agrawal and Subash Sanghai, inaugurated the project at the proposed site of the powerhouse.

    “The generation design has now been revised downward. We have signed an agreement to sell the electricity produced by the project to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA),” said Badri Rijal, manager of the project. He added that the power would be evacuated through the NEA’s new Khimti substation.

    The project will construct a 17 km transmission line of 220 kVA capacity from Khijidemba to Devitar in Manthali Municipality. Rijal said that construction of the project would begin formally on Friday.

    The contract for the civil works has been awarded to an Italian company, Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna (CMC), which is also the contractor for the Melamchi Water Supply Project.

    The project has aimed to start generating power within 30 months. The estimated cost of the plant is Rs9.54 billion.

    The resumption of the project has cheered locals, said Nepali Congress leader Ram Hari Khatiwada. “The project will not only address the country’s energy deficit but also bring economic prosperity to the region.”

    He said that the Likhu River had a potential to generate 500 MW of electricity. “Other projects will also be developed gradually.”

    The project site, which had remained almost deserted after the Indian company pulled out, has been revitalized. “We are expecting better days ahead,” said Chandra Raut, a local. Land prices have started to go up after the project was brought back.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post