Parliamentary panel tells IBN to report on Arun III, Upper Karnali every two months

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    biccKATHMANDU, Dec 1  : The Agriculture and Water Resources Committee of legislature-parliament on Sunday directed the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) to update the progress in implementation of Arun III and Upper Karnali hydropower projects every two months.

    Talking to Republica, Gagan Thapa, chairperson of the committee, said directions of the parliamentary committee will help IBN do the needful for timely completion of the mega projects.

    As per the Project Development Agreements (PDAs), GMR, the developer of Upper Karnali, and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL), the developer of Arun III, most complete financial closure within two years to start construction of the export-oriented projects.

    Likewise, the committee has directed the Ministry of Energy (MoE) and IBN to come up with a common view on the development of West Seti Hydropower Project.

    The committee issued the direction after finding contrasting views of the two state agencies on the development of the mega hydropower project. MoE and IBN have been asked to present their views on West Seti to the committee within a month.

    According to Thapa, IBN has reported to the committee that the process to develop West Seti is gaining pace. IBN is in touch with the officials of China Three Gorges Corporation — the developer of West Seti.

    But ministry officials have been saying the project is not feasible as the developer is yet to decide on transmission line and also Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is undecided about purchasing energy generated by the project which is being built for domestic consumption.

    IBN signed MoU with China Three Gorges for the development of the project three years ago.

    CIAA CHIEF INVITED AGAIN
    The committee has decided to request Lok Man Singh Karki, chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), to attend its meeting to answer lawmakers´ queries on cancellation of licenses of over a dozen hydropower projects.

    “We have decided to invite CIAA chief yet again after listening to energy ministry officials about the status of different projects including Kabeli ´A´”, committee chairperson Thapa said. “We decided to consult with the CIAA chief before arriving at the conclusion on the fate of those projects.”

    Thapa also said most of those projects were falling prey because of the indecisiveness of state agencies on different issues like Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and transmission lines because of which they could not achieve financial closure and lost survey and generation license.

    The committee, however, has not set the date for the meeting for which CIAA chief Karki has been invited.

    Three weeks ago, Karki had declined to attend the committee meeting, arguing that CIAA was accountable only to the Good Governance and Monitoring Committee of the parliament in line with clause 110 and 115 of the Legislature-Parliament Regulation. In his written response, Karki had said CIAA would inform its activities and progress to one and all through the Good Governance and Monitoring Committee.

    Meanwhile, officials of the energy ministry say they were not in a position to decide the fate of those projects due to conflicting directions from the parliament and the anti-graft body.
    Energy Secretary is the final authority to decide on the fate of electricity survey and generation licenses.

    Earlier, parliamentary Finance Committee had directed authorities concerned not to implement CIAA´s decision after holding discussion with CIAA chief Karki.

    Speaking at the meeting of Agriculture and Water Resources Committee on Sunday, Minister for Energy Radha Gyawali said she would protect genuine developers even if that means forwarding the issue to the cabinet.
    CIAA cannot look into the cabinet decisions.

    Source : Republica