More than half dozen prospective lenders for the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project are submitting the project appraisal report to the boards of their respective organisations after their meeting with the project’s developer GMR India, sources have said.

    A project appraisal team from Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), DEG a subsidiary of German Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) held tri-party meeting with Investment Board Nepal (IBN) and GMR in Kathmandu on Tuesday. “The developer presented the project profile to the team assuring them of technical and financial viability,” said an IBN source present in the meeting. “IBN also made a presentation and assured the team about the project’s viability.”

    The team, according to multiple sources, “looked convinced” about the project’s viability, but raised a few questions over the country’s political situation which might disturb the project’s development. “The group also met Prime Minister KP Oli, DPM and Defence Minister Bhim Bahadur Rawal and Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel and sought political commitment for the development of the project,” said the IBN source. The team reviewed the project’s progress, including details of power purchase agreement, existing financial arrangement and progress towards financial closure. GMR has to complete the financial closure by September 2016.

    Multiple sources say the lenders’ team have submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI), offering a loan of more than $1 billion to the project.

    The project is targeted to be completed by 2021 at an estimated cost of Rs145 billion.
    According to the IBN,an agreement has been reached on the resettlement action plan with locals to be displaced by the project.

    “The land acquisition process is almost over,” said an IBN official.
    In December 2014, the IFC had signed an agreement with India’s GMR Group to become an equity partner in the project.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post