KATHMANDU, Jan 28
Half of around Rs 100 billion (US$ 1 billion) India has promised to give to Nepal through line of credit will be invested on reservoir-based 1200 MW Budi Gandaki Hydropower Project.
A meeting between Nepali government officials and officials of the Export Import (Exim) Bank of India has decided to select the project and invest Rs 50 billion on it. Rs 30 billion of the remaining amount will be invested on roads and Rs 20 billion on irrigation, according to Chief of the International Economic Coordination Division under the Finance Ministry Madhu Kumar Marasini. He says work will start soon as the projects have already been selected. Two dozen road and irrigation projects have been selected while the meeting also decided to resolve the problem seen in Rahughat Project, according to him. The meeting has also approved the working procedure for investment proposed by Nepal. India is providing Rs 100 billion to Nepal at the annual interest rate of one percent through the line of credit. India had earlier provided around Rs 35 billion (US$ 350 million) at the interest rate of 1.75 percent. Marasini reveals that the previous road projects have also been approved.
Budi Gandaki Hydropower Project Development Committee can now move the project forward with Rs 50 billion available for investment. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by Tractebel Engineering of France has put the project cost at Rs 248.55 billion while the project is expected to generate 3.38 billion units of electricity per year as per a study by the consultant.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Nepal visit in August had announced soft loan of US$ 1 billion while the Nepal government and Exim Bank of India had signed the loan agreement to that regard during the SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu in November. Feasibility study prepared by Tractebel has put generation cost at Rs 7.50 (7.54 cents) per unit. It has advised to keep six turbines of 200 MW each for the project. The project can generate 1.40 billion units during the five months from December to April.
Tunnel need not be constructed for the project as underground power house will be constructed within the dam. The project is situated at Salangghat of Dhading and Ghyalchowk of Gorkha. The height of dam will be 263 meters. Twenty-three VDCs of Gorkha and Dhading look set to be affected by the project and resettlement of the people displaced by the reservoir-based project will be very challenging. The country will not suffer load-shedding even during the dry season once the project is completed.
The consultant has been handed responsibility of completing detailed study as well as preparing bid documents to take the project into development stage. This project will be among 36 projects with big and high dams across the world. A lake up to 50 kilometers upstream will be formed in the river.
Source : Karobar Daily