Rs. 50 million allocated for pancheswor project goes on freeze

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    Kathmandu, July 8:

    Pancheshwar_ProjectThe amount received for the Pancheswor Multipurpose Hydel Project to be developed in Mahakali River is to go on freeze.

    The government had provided Rs. 50 million for this year. The amount was to be spent in road construction, feasibility study, and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Rs. 4.3 million allocated for EIA for Nepal portion of the project is going on freeze.

    Likewise, the amount allocated for construction of road from Patan of Baitadi to the project site, Rs. 9.5 million will also go on freeze, said Project Chief Chiranjibi Chataut.  Only half of the total 64 km has been opened track and no works moved ahead in other places.

    There is no easy road to reach the site from Nepal side. As the same amount goes on freeze, the project is pushed to further delay. Likewise, the Rs. 1.5 million allocated for feasibility study of the river bank route from Bramhadevpuri of Mahakali is also in the condition of going to freeze.

    Project Chief Chataut says although the road had to be built by a multi year contract of Patan-Pancheswor road to the site, it could not happen. Although the EIA was completed technically, the report was not submitted, he added.

    There is no dialogue even if it was discussed in 2013 November between Nepal and India. Although the government has set up a separate office for the project, no progress has been recorded so far.

    Although various governments have made commitment for developing it, no progress has  been made for its implementation. Despite no physical  progress, more than Rs. 20 million has been spent in  office, staff salaries, and vehicles annually.

    There is a target of generating 6,720 mw of electricity from Mahakali river, the border river between the two countries and will irrigate land in both countries.

    The project is ten times cheaper than the 70 mw mid- Marsyangdi, and six times cheaper than West-Seti in average.

    It is bigger in terms of displacement of people per mw by 25 percent than West Seti and 22 percent in inundation, and 45 percent bigger by production.

    Its production cost is Rs. 2.55 per kw.  The total investment of the Pancheswor High Dam and the Rupaligad Regulating Dam  is Rs. 336 billion or  4, 475  million US dollars.  Nepal will have to invest about Rs. 126- Rs. 130 billion in the project.

    If the construction period is 10 years, Nepal will have to invest Rs. 13 billion per year, and if that is more than that, Nepal will have no difficulty in investment.

    Nepal will have Rs. 34.50 billion annually from the project and will have advantage in fisheries, carbon, trade, irrigation, and eco-tourism, herbs, and fruits.  From the revenue of the project, Dadeldhura district will receive Rs. 560 million, Darchula, Kailali, Doti, Bajhang, Bajura and Achham will receive Rs. 230 million annually.

    The project dam site was identified by India in 1956. In the beginning, it was estimated to generate only 1,000 mw, and in 1991 it was projected to generate 6,480 if a 315 m high dam was built.

    The DPR of the project was prepared in 1995. As it was a border river and bilateral agreement had to be signed, there was no progress even if talks were held in various rounds.

    Source : RSS