Minister urges parties to resolve problem faced by Bhote Koshi hydro project

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    Upper Bhote Koshi HEP Intake
    Upper Bhote Koshi HEP Intake

    KATHMANDU: Energy Minister Radha Kumari Gyawali today asked all political parties to immediately resolve problems faced by Bhote Koshi Power Company (BKPC), as obstructions created by locals in the construction of transmission lines have prevented Kathmandu Valley from receiving around 45 megawatts of electricity, which could reduce loadshedding by around one hour every day.

    “I ask all political parties, including the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), to address this problem immediately,” Gyawali told a meeting of parliamentary committee on agriculture and water resources today. “Please do whatever you can.”

    The 45MW Bhote Koshi hydroelectric project has not been able to evacuate electricity since the first week of August when floods and landslides in Sindhupalchowk district completely damaged four transmission lines of the company.

    The company is currently planning to build seven new transmission lines — six in Takkanpur village development committee (VDC) and one in Dhuskun VDC — but locals have not allowed the company to do so by placing various demands, including ownership transfer of shares.

    Locals, who have received the backing of major political parties — CPN-UML, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist — are currently demanding 22.5 per cent stake in the power company. Locals supported by NC, on the other hand, are pressing the company to transfer ownership of 10 per cent of the shares to their names.

    “The monetary value of these shares is estimated to be around Rs 450 million at face value (that is considering the value of each share at a minimum of Rs 100 per share),” BKPC Manager, Finance, Babin Pradhan, told The Himalayan Times.

    Locals are even said to be willing to pay a premium on the shares, meaning they are ready to invest more than Rs 100 on each share.

    But even then, promoters of the company are unlikely to transfer the shares, as they have said the pressure exerted by locals after around 14 years of the company’s establishment was insulting.

    “We will accept the demand if the government formulates a rule on it, as BKPC is a law abiding company. But we won’t succumb to unnecessary pressure,” Pradhan said.

    Others have also criticised the locals for creating hurdles for the company, which has been generating electricity, without facing much problems, since January 2001.

    “What kind of message would it send to the international market if the investor, which has been working here for around 14 years, returns home?” Nepali Congress lawmaker Uday Shumsher Rana questioned during parliament’s finance committee meeting on Sunday.

    Source : The Himalayan Times