EnergyMin, IBN clash over hydro projects

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    Dec 30, 2017-The Law Ministry has tried to resolve a disagreement between the Energy Ministry and Investment Board Nepal (IBN) over the right to implement two large hydropower projects by holding talks with them on Friday.

    The dispute flared up after IBN asked the Energy Ministry for the implementation rights for the 688 MW Betan Karnali and 617 MW Bheri-1 hydropower projects in western Nepal claiming it held the sole authority to execute schemes with a capacity of 500 MW or more.

    After the Energy Ministry issued survey licences for the Betan Karnali and Bheri-1 projects to Betan Karnali Sanchayakarta Hydropower Company and Vidhyut Utpadan Company respectively, IBN asked it to send the related documents. Betan Karnali Sanchayakarta Hydropower Company is a subsidiary of the Employees Provident Fund.

    Subsequently, the Energy Ministry decided to consult with the Law Ministry

    before reaching a decision and forwarded IBN’s letter to it. The Law Ministry then called the two parties to state their cases.

    IBN officials told the meeting that the installed capacities of the two projects were well above 500 MW, and that they held the right to implement them. “We clearly mentioned that the project should be implemented by the board,” said an IBN source present at the meeting.

    Meanwhile, Energy Ministry officials said they had the sole authority to issue survey licences for hydropower projects. “We said that the installed capacity of a hydropower project will be determined only after the detailed survey report has been prepared. The installed capacity claimed by IBN is based on preliminary desk study,” said Energy Joint Secretary Dinesh Kumar Ghimire who participated in the meeting.

    “After the detailed survey determines the capacity of the project, IBN can claim its right to implement it. At the moment, IBN has no role to play regarding these hydropower projects.” However, the Energy Ministry will reach a decision based on the Law Ministry’s advice, Ghimire said.

    This is not the first time that the Energy Ministry and IBN have been at loggerheads over implementation rights of hydropower projects with an installed capacity of 500 MW and above.

    The Energy Ministry issued a survey licence for the 650 MW Tamakoshi 3 to TBI Holding on October 12, while IBN was preparing to invite international bids to develop the much-awaited hydropower project.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post