Stakeholders have advised to develop Budhi Gandaki as a multi-purpose project to also use its water for other purposes. They have drawn the attention of government toward that stating that benefits from use of water can be lost while designing it only for use of electricity.
Former secretary Shital Babu Regmi, speaking at an interaction program organized by Karobar on Thursday, said the project should be made multi-purpose and its water be used for irrigation in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts. He said a re-regulating dam should be constructed to control the water to flow out of the project. “Budhi Gandaki must be developed in a way that more electricity is generated at low cost and lesser area is inundated. Nepal must also be able to reap downstream benefits after seeing inundation of 65,000 hectares of land. We can irrigate an additional 100,000 hectares of land in Chitwan and Nawalparasi districts in the dry season from the water coming out of the project,” he added.
Chairman of the Hydropower Committee of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Gyanendra Lal Pradhan also concurred. He claimed that another 225 MW project can be constructed at Devghat with water from Budhi Gandaki. “This project should also be included in the Budhi Gandaki. We should also take soft loan at one percent from India as return from the project will be low,” he reasoned.
President of the Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal (IPPAN) Khadga Bahadur Bista said the project must not be developed through the committee and pointed at the need to develop it in public-private partnership (PPP) model. He advised to form investment structure in a way that the government has 49 percent stake and public the rest 51 percent.
President of the committee Dr Laxmi Prasad Devkota said the project is being developed to fulfill demand of electricity during the dry season. He claimed that load-shedding can be ended by operating the project for six-eight hours during the dry season. Revealing that consultant Tractebel Engineering of France has advised to design the project for 1200 MW, he added that it will annually generate 3.40 billion units. It can generate 1.80 billion units of that during the dry season alone. He stated that the project has been designed in a way that electricity can be generated from December to April.
He claimed that project work will be affected as the government allocated just Rs 3.37 billion in the current fiscal year despite demanding Rs 29 billion to complete land acquisition and resettlement. He added that it will take Rs 58 billion to complete land acquisition and resettlement.
Source : Karobar Daily