Indian firm Sutlej lands Arun III contract

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    KATHMANDU, Sept 29:The government has finally decided to award the 900 MW Arun III Hydropower Project to the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVN), India´s state-owned power producer, after the company demonstrated financial capability to bring in Rs 82.5 billion for the development of the project.

    A meeting of the Investment Board (IB) on Friday took the decision, approving the investment of the SJVN, a senior official of the board informed Republica.

    The board chaired by the prime minister has been empowered to implement mega infrastructure projects and hydropower projects such as Arun III and 750 MW West Seti.

    Arun III is a run-of-the-river project based in Sankhuwasava district and SJVN was selected to prepare its detailed project report (DPR) and develop the project through a global bidding in 2008. “The final approval means it can now start the necessary construction works,” the source added.

    SJVN has demonstrated how it would invest Rs 81 billion as fixed capital and Rs 1.5 billion for variable cost. It has also outlined its plan for laying transmission lines to connect the project with the national grid.

    The board meeting also approved the environment impact assessment (EIA) report of the 900 MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Project submitted by GMR, another Indian power developer.

    “The board has decided to ask the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST) to speed up the process of approving EIA report of GMR,” the source revealed.

    During the meeting, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai expressed his concern over the board´s failure to launch any concrete plan to kickstart the Nepal Investment Year 2012/13 campaign announced by the government to bring in US$ 1 billion in foreign investment.

    The prime minister also directed the Ministry of Finance to arrange budget necessary for the board to launch the campaign.

    Though constrained by the one-third budget, Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun, who was also present at the meeting committed that he would try his best to manage the budget for the board.

    Reconfirming Friday´s decisions and directives, a PMO source said that the board meeting also took decisions on forming a study team to manage Ratna Mandir in Pokhara in order to use it for revenue generation purpose and hiring new staffs for IB office within three months, among other things. A three-member committee comprising board´s CEO Radesh Pant, and joint secretaries from the finance minister and the prime minister´s office has been formed for hiring staff in the board within three months,” the source said.

    Source  : Republic