The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has appointed Nabin Raj Singh as the facilitator of a team formed to evaluate the detailed report of 4,800-megawatt Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.
The appointment was made as a working group formed under Secretary of the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), Dhana Bahadur Tamang, failed to expedite process of evaluating the detailed project report (DPR) submitted by WAPCOS Ltd, an Indian state-owned company.
“Singh (chief of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, which is under the Department of Electricity Development) has been asked to get inputs from other members of the group and compile them. The compiled information will be used by the MoE to make its stance clear on recommendations and findings incorporated in the DPR,” MoE Deputy Spokesperson Gokarna Raj Pantha told The Himalayan Times.
Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA), the developer of the Pancheshwar project, had hired WAPCOS to prepare the detailed report of Pancheshwar project, which is being developed jointly by Nepal and India. The Indian company submitted the final draft of the DPR in March.
Since then, the PDA has handed over copies of the draft DPR to governments of Nepal and India, seeking feedback.
Although DPR can only be finalised if both governments submit their views on findings of WAPCOS, the Nepali side has not formally initiated works in this area.
This has raised the spectre of Nepal missing October-end deadline to endorse the DPR. Delay in endorsement of the DPR will hit implementation of the project being built at a cost of Rs 480 billion on Mahakali River in far-western Nepal.
To initiate DPR evaluation process, the MoE had earlier reached out to WECS, which, in turn, formed a working group of experts under its Secretary Tamang. The committee comprises former bureaucrats cum energy experts, such as Surya Nath Upadhyay, Sriranjan Lacoul, Subarnalal Shrestha, Arjun Prasad Shrestha, Lekhnath Singh Bhandari and Som Nath Poudel, among others.
Earlier, the working group had also floated the idea of forming two sub-committees to look into technical details mentioned in the draft DPR. But these sub-committees are yet to be formed.
The DPR review committee and sub-committees have three major tasks to perform.
First is related to hydrology, which includes study of movement, distribution and presence of water in river.
Second is determining benefits that Nepal will reap from the project. This is essential because the Mahakali Treaty says the project cost will have to be borne by both the countries in proportion to the benefits they obtain.
So, unless the government figures out benefits Nepal is likely to reap, it cannot ascertain the financial contribution it will have to make to build the project.
The committee and sub-committees should also look into the project’s engineering design proposed by WAPCOS. This is also essential because Nepal falls in earthquake-prone zone and damage caused to dam or other infrastructure may cause havoc in both Nepal and India.
Source : The Himalayan Times.