Power developers losing Rs 8 million every day

LandsideKATHMANDU, Aug 13 : Power developers are losing Rs 8 million every day because of disruption in transmission lines and damage in two hydropower projects due to landslide in Jure and damming of Sunkoshi River.

The accumulated loss has reached Rs 960 million till Wednesday. 

Speaking at a press meet organized by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) in Kathmandu on Wednesday, Narendra Prajapati, treasurer of Independent Power Producers Association, said they were waiting for restoration of roads to reinstall power pylons swept away by the flood and landslide.“

“Developers will be able to carry out repair works on two hydropower projects – one of which is completely submerged in the artificial dam – only after the dammed water is drained o”t,” Prajapati added. 

Shekhar Golchha, vice president of FNCCI, said the delay in opening of alternative road and resumption of power supply has shaken the confidence of bankers and investors.

Damage in power houses and transmission lines have disconnected 66 MW of power, including 45 MW generated by Upper Bhotekoshi, from the national grid, prompting Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to increased load-shedding by two hours every day. Barhabise, the local business center, is completely in the dark.“

“Locals in affected villages don´t have food grains. Though some have paddy, they have not been able to prepare rice as there is no electricity to power mills in the vicinity of Barhabi”e,” Shambhu Bahadur Timalsina, a local transportation entrepreneurs, said.

Private sector has blamed the government for dragging its feet to bring the submerged section of the Araniko Highway in operation at the earliest by draining out dammed wate“. 

“The government doesn´t seem serious enough to open the road even though it is the only trade route with China. Disconnection of the trade route has badly affected supplies of goods from China. It might impact prices ahead of the festive seas”n,” FNCCI President Pradeep Jung Pandey said.

Pandey and other office-bearers and executive members had visited the incident site on Tuesda“. “Water level can be reduced below the submerged road section by increasing discharge from the dam to 350 cubic meter per second for existing 265 cubic meter per second. Then we can immediately start works to rehabilitate the ro”d,” Pandey said, adding that slight increment in water discharge from the artificial dam won´t make any effect downstream.

Pandey said some interests groups might have diverted the issue to build alternative roads to serve their vested interest“. “It would take at least one and half months to build such roads. Also, they won´t be feasible for heavy containe”s,” he added.

The government has started to build 34-kilomter alternative road on the other the Araniko Highway by installing two Bailey bridges.

Altogether 600 loaded containers are waiting at the yard of Tatopani Customs Office waiting for the resumption of traffic on Araniko Highway. Halt in trade through the customs point means the government is losing revenue amounting to Rs 30 million every day.

Nilkantha Chaulagain, president of Sindhupalchowk Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government chose to develop alternative road to serve vested interests of some political leaders in the district by ignoring the most viable option of resuming traffic.

However, Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, denied such claim“. “Alternative roads will be useful in case traffic is disturbed on Araniko Highway due to whatsoever reaso”s,” he added.

Source : Republica