KATHMANDU, May 26: The management of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has recommended to the board of directors of NEA to upgrade capacity of Trishuli III ´A´ hydropower project to 90 MW from existing 60 MW.
“The NEA management is convinced that capacity upgradation of the project is beneficial to it. Hence, we have forwarded a recommendation for the same to the board,” Rameshwore Yadav, managing director of the NEA, told Republica.
Earlier, the government had asked the NEA management to come up with an opinion on capacity upgradation.
“We took the decision after conducting necessary discussions,” added Yadav.
Yadav submitted the recommendation to the board meeting on Sunday itself.
“The board, however, has not taken any decision on capacity upgradation,” Yadav added.
The previous government led like Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai had decided to upgrade capacity of the project. However, the move soon drew criticisms. Responding to a writ petition, the Supreme Court had later issued show cause notice to the government.
The cabinet had formally decided to upgrade the capacity of the project in the beginning of 2013. The NEA board, however, hadn´t endorsed the decision.
Following this, the government formed a committee under Moti Bahadur Kunwar, joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy (MoE), to study whether it would be appropriate to upgrade the project capacity. The committee, however, did not give any clear recommendation.
The run-of-the-river type project, which is being developed by China Gezhouba Group Co with US$ 89 million soft loan from the Exim Bank of China, will have to get nod of the NEA board for capacity upgradation.
The Bhattarai-led government stood in favor of upgrading the project after the Chinese contractor informed NEA that it can upgrade the project to 90 MW at the total cost of US$ 132 million.
“We will have to wait and see how the NEA board reacts to our recommendation,” Yadav said.
According to a source at the MoE, Energy Ministry Umakant Jha, who is also the chairman of the NEA board, is in the favor of upgrading the capacity of the project. “Shanta Raj Subedi, secretary at the finance ministry, is also in the favor of capacity upgradation,” the source revealed.
Earlier, the then opposition party leaders, including Dr Ramsharan Mahat of Nepali Congress and Gokarna Bista of CPN-UML, had vehemently opposed the decision to increase capacity of the project.
Source : Republica