Search for new modality to build Budhigandaki, says Minister Pun

    72

    Apr 9, 2018-Amid controversy over building the Budhigandaki hydropower project, the government is preparing a new proposal to develop the 1,200 megawatt plant.

    In an interview ,Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Pun on Sunday said the government would take time to decide the financing modality of the power project.

    Claiming that the private sector was not interested in it due to the high cost, the earlier Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government had decided to build it by mobilising domestic resources after scrapping the tender awarded to the China Gezhouba group.

    “We’ll develop two modalities for construction of the project. One, if the government requires developing it, what kind of financing and other modalities need to be adopted. Second, separate development and financing modality for the private sector.”

    The National Pride Project is in limbo after the Deuba government scrapped the deal awarded to the Chinese firm. The preceding Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the deal to China Gezhouba.

    The issue of downstream benefits should be looked into, said Minister Pun, but “we have to construct the centrally located projected considering the load factor”.

    In connection with the deal reached with India on Saturday to explore waterways for Nepal’s access to the sea, Pun said the potential lies in Koshi and Gandaki rivers.

    “After creating a reservoir in Budhigandaki, we are planning to create a barrage in Devighat to manage the water flow, as well as to generate electricity,” the minister said. This plan, if implemented, would allow regular channel of water on the Narayani river to the Ganga in India.

    Another plan is for building storage type projects on the Sunkoshi as first, second and third developments. A dam on the Koshi could create a channel all the way to Kolkata in India. For all these projects, dams have to be built for power generation and regulating waterways.

    “We’ll look for investments from India and other foreign entities while meeting a portion of costs for such high dam projects on our own,” Pun said. The ministry is said to be planning to coordinate with other ministries concerned so that the government would work not only well, but also fast.

    The government also plans to explore a regional market for energy so that production is incentivised, after signing power trading agreements (PTA) with China and Bangladesh. Domestic demand is projected to hit 10,000 MW within a decade. The Gorakhpur-Butwal cross-border transmission line would also be developed.

    Concerning India’s new guidelines on transmission, which says the neighbour will purchase power only from projects developed with Indian investment, Pun said that has to change. “The PTA we signed with India makes the guidelines redundant,” he said.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post