Entities to fast-track, watch hydro projects to be set up

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    KATHMANDU, MAY 27 –

    Ministry of EnergyThe Ministry of Energy (MoE) is preparing to establish two mechanisms to fast-track energy projects and monitor them.

    One will look after coordination with other line ministries particularly the Home Affairs, Finance, Land Reforms and Environment ministries. The other mechanism will study the seriousness of the developers who have obtained survey licences to develop their potential projects. “The mechanisms are being established to make development work more efficient,” said Rajendra Kishore Kshatri, secretary at the MoE.

    The formation of the first mechanism is expected to help inter-ministerial coordination against a backdrop of issues encountered by hydropower projects like land acquisition and obstructions by the Environment Ministry over possible environmental damage. For instance, in January 2011, the construction of a tunnel for Kulekhani Hydropower Project III was delayed as the government did not permit it to cut down around 150 trees in the surrounding areas of Audit No 2 at Bhainse VDC.

    “Once the mechanism is established, it will simplify dealings with other ministries and also make the issues clearer,” Kshatri said.

    Regarding the second mechanism, Kshatri said that it would keep track of survey licences and monitor the seriousness of the developers who have obtained them.

    The Department of Electricity Development (DoED) issues survey licences which are valid for five years.

    While a few companies who have received survey licences actually visit the site to conduct field studies, many have been accused of being more interested in holding on to the permits with the intention of selling them to actual developers for a hefty mark-up. In a bid to stop this tendency, the DoED one and half years ago increased the licence fee.

    According to Kshatri, the tenure of a survey licence was fixed at five years since it was difficult for developers to visit the project sites due to the state of internal war in the country then.

    “The situation is not the same now. Developers can conveniently carry out research,” said Kshatri. The mechanism will make field visits to the survey sites and observe the tasks that have been completed and also partially regulate them, he added.

    Source : eKantipur