Rukum’s largest hydropower project nears finish line


    Simrutu River Small Hydropower Project, a micro-hydro located in Rukum district has reached the final stage of construction. The biggest hydro power project of the district is on the verge of completion, ten years after construction started. The project is being developed under the financial grant of Asian Development Bank (ADB), Alternative Energy Promotion Center alongside cash and labour contribution by locals, According to the project office, 85 percent of construction work has been already completed. Once completed, the hydropower plant will produce 200 kw of energy. Currently, there are no other projects in the district producing electricity beyond 90 kw. The scheme will generate electricity by channeling water from the Simrutu River and the Khar River to rotate the turbine of the plant.

    The project is being constructed with an investment of Rs87.1 million where 65 percent of the investment amounting to Rs 57 million, is being provided by the ADB. Similarly, 24 percent of the total investment amounting to Rs20.1 million, is being provided through labour contribution from the district locals. The project has secured 11 percent of the total investment needs amounting to Rs10 million from Civil Bank for the construction of the project. The project received financial support from ADB under South Asia Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) programme.

    The project office has hired a joint venture of Gaura Construction and Hydro Energy for the construction of the hydropower plant. After completion of the project, 1,296 households of the district will receive electricity. Although, it will not take much time to complete the construction of the project, it might take a few months to distribute the electricity generated from it, according to Laxman Oli, chairman of the hydropower development committee. “Our plan is to start distributing electricity within a few months,” said Oli.

    According to him, all the machines and equipments required for the powerhouse are ready for installation. Construction of powerhouse, line expansion and maintenance work of the section damaged by the recent landslide is going on. While the country is gearing up to invite foreign direct investment for the construction of mega hydropower projects to tap the immense hydro potential, the construction of the microhydro projects is just as crucial for rural electrification.

    The annual budget of the current fiscal year has also prioritised rural electrification by allocating Rs5 billion under the heading. Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada also announced that there would be adequate funds to provide subsidies to small hydropower and renewable energy projects.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post