Govt urged to construct Upper Karnali project with own investment

    Various concerned authorities have urged the government to take ahead construction of the 900-Megawatt Upper Karnali Hydropower Project with its own investment.

    The stakeholders taking in a program in the Capital today also demanded that the project should be developed to its original proposed capacity of 4,180 Megawatts.

    Power Development Agreement has already been signed with the Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao (GMR) company of India to start the construction works.

    Local people at the construction site said that the project could produce the total 4,180 megawatt electricity if constructed through reservoir project.

    “The project should be constructed with the investment and technology of Nepal itself,” said Bhar Bahadur Shahi, coordinator of the campaign to save the Upper Karnali project, adding that it costs less than Rs 2 per unit to use energy from the project. Nepal Electricity Authority charges Rs 9 per unit of electricity.

    The government issued permit paper to the GMR Company to generate 300 megawatt electricity on January 24, 2008 whereas its capacity was enhanced to 900 megawatt on December 20, 2009. The promoters are required to make the land acquisition within a year which is yet to take place.

    As per the Power Development Agreement (PDA), the government will receive 12 per cent of the total generated power free of cost and obtain 27 per cent cost-free ownership in the project. The company will generate electricity around the year for the locals of the area affected by the project.

    More than 2,000 locals will also be employed with the launch of the project. Under the Social Corporate Responsibility (SCR), the company will also undertake other development projects in the local area.

    The government will draw more than Rs 400 billion in royalty in the next 25 years including other financial benefits as tax from the project.