GMR seeks to inject Rs 1.45b more in Upper Marsyangdi

KATHMANDU, Dec 13: GMR, the Indian power developer, has sought approval for injecting additional Rs 1.45 billion investment into the 600-MW Upper Marsyangdi Project after the government okayed the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of the project prepared by the company.

“The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST) has approved the EIA report of the project on Monday and has forwarded it to the Investment Board of Nepal (IBN),” said a source close to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM).

According to the source, GMR has sought approval from the government to bring in new investment worth Rs 1.45 billion for Upper Marsyangdi. GMR has earlier injected Rs 450 million into the project.

The company will get generation license of the project from the government only after it discloses financial closure of the project cost. The additional investment that the company is preparing to inject has no connection with the project´s financial closure.

Confirming the development, Keshav Bhattarai, secretary at MoEST, said the EIA report of Upper Marsyangdi has been approved. “We have forwarded it to the concerned agency for further execution,” Bhattarai told Republica.

IBN, a high-level body of the government entrusted to carry out mega projects including hydropower projects of above 500 MW, will soon inform GMR about the development.

A source privy to the issue informed Republica that the IBN secretariat will take a decision on GMR´s application. “The board meeting has been scheduled for next week. The meeting will take a decision on approving the additional investment and other related issues,” the source said.

Moreover, GMR, which is also developing the 900-MW Upper Karnali — another of Nepal´s largest hydropower projects — has applied for approval from the government to establish a new office in Delhi, India to manage its market for future power supply. GMR has targeted the Indian market to sell its power generated from the two projects — Upper Marsyangdi and Upper Karnali.

“The scheduled board meeting of IBN will take a decision on it as well,” the source further revealed.

The government has given the Upper Marsyangdi Project to GMR under build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) act. GMR has been commissioned to complete the project by 2016.

Construction of the run-of-the-river project located in Lamjung and Manang districts will begin after the company discloses its financial closure successfully.

GMR, which has been frequently threatened by the CPN-Maoist, has asked for adequate security at the project sites from the government.

Source : The Republica