Locals demand immediate construction of Upper Arun Hydropower Project

435

Kathmandu, 22 September 2021. The locals have demanded to move ahead with the construction of the 1,061 MW semi-reservoir Upper Arun Hydropower Project in Bhotkhola village municipality of Sankhuwasabha. The team led by Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal, who visited the project on Wednesday, said that the locals were ready to provide necessary assistance to start the construction of the project as soon as possible.

Ladar Bhote, chairman of the Upper Arun Hydropower Project Affected Stakeholders Forum, said that the construction of the project should be started as soon as possible as they are eager to burn the electricity generated from the water generated from their geography. “We are happy that the project is being built. As the road will be constructed along with the project, we will be able to drive, schools and health sector will be improved,” said Bhote. We are ready to make the project successful by removing it.

Minister Bhusal said that the detailed study of the project would be completed as soon as possible and construction would start after finalizing the investment. “The project is being discussed but will not be constructed for decades. We are making every effort to end it and build it for the benefit of the Upper Arun local people,” he said.

The government has said that the semi-reservoir Upper Arun will be given high priority and will be promoted as a game changer project. It is the largest project being constructed by the Upper Arun Authority under the People’s Hydropower Program with an installed capacity of 1061 MW. Discussions are underway to manage the project in a model with 49 percent public share and investment of domestic financial institutions such as concessional loans from the World Bank, European Investment Bank and Employees Provident Fund, Citizens Investment Fund. The federal, state and local governments will also invest in the project.

The estimated cost of the project, which can be operated at full capacity for six hours a day in the six months of winter when electricity is in high demand, is US अर्ब 1.38 billion (about Rs. 161 billion). NEA plans to raise 30 percent of the total cost from equity and 70 percent from loans. The project will generate 4.53 billion units of energy annually. NEA has moved ahead with the 30 MW Ikhuwa Hydropower Project to be a part of Upper Arun. Ikhuwa is also a project included in the Janata Hydropower Program.

The target is to acquire the private land required for the project and start construction of about 24 kilometers of access road from this year. Out of 180 hectares of land required for the project, 120 hectares will have to be acquired. The project will displace 25 households.

Work is underway with a plan to complete all the studies in 2022 and mobilize the contractor for construction by 2023. The construction of the project is targeted to be completed by 2030. A detailed study of the project is being carried out with a concessional loan of ३१ 13.1 million from the World Bank.

The team led by Energy Minister Bhusal included Energy Secretary Devendra Karki, Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini, Director General of Power Development Department Sandeep Kumar Dev, Electricity Authority Managing Director Kulman Ghising, World Bank Vice President Hartwig Sofer and Executive Director Mohammad Hassan Ahmed. The team inspected the main structure of the project and the construction site of the power house.