NEA Takes Steps to Move Budhigandaki Hydro Project Forward

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Kathmandu, 09 July 2023. The Nepal Electricity Authority has started an initiative to advance the construction of the national pride 1,200 MW Budhigandaki Reservoir Hydropower Project. According to the instructions of the Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, the authority’s top leadership inspected the proposed construction site and reservoir area on Saturday to start the construction process of the project.
Under the leadership of the Authority’s Managing Director Kulman Ghising, Deputy Managing Director Pradeep Kumar Thike and Project Environment, Compensation Distribution, Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Unit Coordinator Jagat Kumar Shrestha visited the dam and powerhouse construction site and submergence area. The proposed dam construction site, power house construction site in Salang of Siddlake Rural Municipality, Arughat area from the reservoir to submergence, Arkhet and other places were inspected. The team also took information about the land acquisition required for the project, the progress of compensation and compensation distribution so far.
The government has decided to build the project on a company model. Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Company has been established for the construction of the project. Managing Director Ghising said that discussions are underway to restructure the share structure of the company for the construction of the project under the leadership and guidance of the authority.
Budhi Gandaki is also strategically important because it is close to electricity load centers like Kathmandu, Chitwan, Pokhara, the authority will have the majority share in the company by integrated use of indigenous capital, the public will also be issued shares, the government will invest insufficient funds and provide concessional loans, and the project will be based on that. “Financial management is being discussed,” Ghising said. “If the government can arrange to deposit half of the infrastructure tax levied on the import of petroleum fuel directly into the project account, there will be no problem for investment.”
According to the report prepared by the consultant in 2015, the estimated cost of the project is 2.59 billion US dollars. The estimated cost of the revised project at current prices is $2.77 billion. The construction period of the project is 8 years.
The progress of land acquisition, which is considered to be the most complex of the project, is about 90 percent. About 42 billion rupees have been distributed to landowner for compensation of land, structure, plants and fruits. 8 thousand one hundred and 17 households of Gorkha and Dhading will be affected physically and financially by the project. Out of this, 3,560 households will be completely displaced.
A 263 meter high curved arch dam will be constructed to block the Budhigandaki river flowing through the border of Gorkha and Dhading districts. After the construction of the dam, the washed water reservoir will spread over 63 square kilometers in the upper coastal area.
14 rural villages of Dhading (currently 4 rural municipalities and 1 municipality) and 13 rural villages of Gorkha (currently 4 rural municipalities) will be affected by this. The maximum water level of the project will be up to 540 m. The project will produce 3 billion 383 million units of electricity annually.