IBN asks for files of hydro projects bigger than 500MW

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    Mar 21, 2018-A long-standing dispute between Investment Board Nepal (IBN) and the Energy Ministry has flared up once again with the board demanding the original files of all 500 MW-plus hydropower projects that are currently being monitored by the ministry.

    On March 15, IBN wrote to the Energy Ministry asking it to submit the files within 15 days after getting the go-ahead from the 29th meeting of IBN board held under the leadership of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

    “The 29th meeting of the board of directors of IBN has given it the authority to identify, screen and prepare profiles of hydropower projects with an installed capacity of more than 500 MW,” said IBN in the letter sent to the ministry, a copy of which was obtained by the Post.

    The board has also asked the ministry to send the study reports of the projects above 500 MW carried out by the ministry, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), Department of Electricity Development, Nepal Electricity Authority and other state agencies.

    “We request the ministry to send the study reports in whatever condition they are,” IBN said in the letter signed by IBN CEO Maha Prasad Adhikari.

    The Energy Ministry is yet to respond to IBN, and ministry officials said they were holding discussions within the ministry. “The board has given us 15 days to send the documents,” said Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, spokesperson for the ministry. “We are holding talks with various stakeholders. We will soon decide how to move forward.”

    IBN and the ministry have been at loggerheads with each other previously over the implementation of hydropower projects with an installed capacity of more than 500 MW.

    Earlier, a dispute flared up after IBN asked the ministry for the implementation rights for the 688 MW Betan Karnali and 617 MW Bheri-1 hydropower projects in western Nepal, claiming that it held the sole authority to execute schemes with a capacity of 500 MW or more. In a letter to the Energy Ministry in December 2017, IBN asked the ministry to send the documents of the two hydropower projects whose survey licences were issued by the ministry.

    Subsequently, the Energy Ministry decided to consult the Law Ministry before reaching a decision and forwarded IBN’s letter to it. The Law Ministry said that the Energy Ministry had the sole authority to issue survey licences for hydropower projects, and that issuing such licences would not impinge on IBN’s jurisdiction nor violate the provisions of the Investment Board Act.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post