KATHMANDU, JAN 06 – National Planning Commission (NPC) has decided to ask the government to involve Nepal Army (NA) personnel in the development of hydropower projects of 10-20MW capacities so that the army builds the capacity to rescue hydel plants during natural disasters.
The army is usually used in rescue missions during natural disasters.
The NPC came to a conclusion the NA’s capacity and knowledge about hydropower should be enhanced after massive landslide in August 2014 that blocked the Sunkoshi River affecting hydropower projects along the river.
The landslide resulted in inundation of the Sunkoshi Small Hydropower Project for 37 days. This caused a huge loss to the project’s developer Sanima Hydropower Company. The project’s powerhouse, turbine and switch yard and penstock pipe were destroyed.
The catastrophe also damaged power transmission lines of five other hydropower projects—Bhotekoshi (45MW), Sunkoshi (10MW), Sunkoshi Small Hydropower (2.5MW), Chaku (6MW) and Bhairabkunda (3MW).
“The incident taught us a lesion that that the national army should be equipped with knowledge about the hydropower sector,” said NPC Vice-chairman Govindra Raj Pokharel. “That’s why our regular meeting chaired by the vice-chairman last week decided to ask the government to allow the NA to develop 10-20MW projects.”
He said given Nepal being prone to earthquakes and other natural disasters, the NA should be in position to rescue hydel projects as they are lifeline to the country’s national economy.
With domestic and international investors showing greater interest in developing hydropower projects, protection of such crucial infrastructure has been important, according to the NPC.
Source : eKantipur