House panel tells govt to sign PDA on time

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    Ensure national, local interests

    way-to-pdaKATHMANDU, Aug 21:Parliament´s Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources has directed the government to sign the Project Development Agreement (PDA) with the developer of the Upper Karnali Hydroelectric Project within the given timeframe.

    The committee has instructed the authorities concerned to ensure that the rights and concerns of local communities and national interests are not undermined while signing the deal. 

    “Sign the deal while ensuring local people´s security, rehabilitation, employment, their compensation, allocation of project shares to the locals and local infrastructural development,” states the decision taken by the committee at its meeting on Thursday. “Also, make sure that there is no adverse impact from the mega project on the environment and on irrigation projects being run downstream of the hydroelectric project.”

    The energy ministry was supposed to sign the PDA of the 900-megawatt hydroelectric project with Indian developer GMR Energy Limited during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s visit to Nepal earlier this month.

    Failing to sign the deal, the prime ministers of the two countries then directed the concerned authorities to conclude negotiations on the PDA between the Investment Board of Nepal and GMR Group of India within 45 days. The project is situated in western Nepal. 

    In its decision, the committee has also directed the government to make a long-term projection of Nepal´s domestic needs, study the possibility of energy supply from other projects and ensure that Nepal will get its share of power from the project.

    Similarly, the committee drew the government´s attention toward incurring minimum risk for the Nepal side as per international criteria under the concept of force majeure that may be invoked during project development.

    Earlier, Minister for Energy Radha Gyawali and her ministry were widely criticized for failing to finalize the PDA in time for the Modi visit.

    During the visit, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and his Indian counterpart emphasized that tapping projects of this size would be a major catalyst for the development of Nepal´s hydropower potential. They also expressed a desire for early conclusion of three other PDAs, namely, for Arun III, Upper Marsyangdi and Tamakoshi III.

    GMR bagged the project through international competitive bidding and the project will be developed on the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model.

    Source : Republica