Govt set to extend GMR licence


    KATHMANDU, DEC 17 – The government is all set to extend the survey licence for India’s GMR Energy that is developing the 900 MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Project. The licence expired in November, 2011.
    The Investment Board (IB), which is scheduled to meet early on Tuesday, will also allow GMR to increase the paid up capital of the Upper Marsyangdi and Upper Karnali Hydropower projects. “The meeting of the Investment Board, which
    had not met for a long time, was hurriedly called on Monday evening,” a senior government official said. “Some pending issues will be cleared in the meeting.”
    According to government sources, the IB meeting called by the Prime Minister’s Office will allow two Indian power developers—GMR Energy and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam—to open their respective offices in India to explore markets for power produced by them in Nepal. GMR has aimed the Indian market to sell its power generated from the two projects—Upper Marsyangdi and Upper Karnali. While GMR is developing the Upper Karnali (900 MW) and the Upper Marsyangdi (600 MW), Satluj is developing the Arun III (600 MW). GMR has sought the government’s approval to increase the paid up capital of both the projects—Upper Karnali and Upper Marsyangdi—to Rs 1.9 billion each.
    “A meeting to be led by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, in his capacity as Chairman of the Investment Board, on Tuesday morning will take a final call on the issues,” sources privy to the developments said. Bhattarai approved the agendas for the Board meeting on Monday evening and forwarded it to government officials concerned.
    According to officials, the government is all set to extend the survey license of Upper Karnali as demanded by GMR for six months. “GMR is registered here as GMR-Nepal and it needs to set up an office in New Delhi to sell power produced here, extend the grid and explore power markets. It is seeking approval to set up an office in India,” the source said. Satluj has also sought approval from the government to increase the deadline to bring foreign equity for Arun III.
    The IB is planning to start negotiations on Power Development Agreement with GMR and Satluj in the second week of January. Though the IB had planned to start talks with these companies in the first week of November and sign the PDA by December-end, the developers have sought more time.


    Source : The Kathmandu Post