Sutlej seeks survey term extension

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    KATHMANDU, Nov 12: Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, Indian state-owned hydropower developer, has applied for the renewal of survey license of the 900 MW Arun III hydroelectricity project. The Indian firm had secured survey license in March 2008 on condition to complete the survey within five years.

    “Sutlej has applied for the renewal of survey license for another one year to the Investment Board of Nepal (IBN),” a source privy to the issue told Republica. The validity of the survey license issued to Sutlej will expire on November 19.

    According to the source, Sutlej, which has submitted the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST) for approval, has to get its survey license renewed.

    Sutlej which had disclosed Rs 82.5 billion worth of financial investment for the project in last September, has just six more months to go as per the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government signed in 2008.

    “Indian developer has applied for renewal by another one year. The IBN is mulling over whether to extend the survey license term as per the demands of the company or not,” said the source.

    The government provides survey license to any power developer for five years as per the Electricity Regulation 1993.

    The run-of-the-river project is based in Sankhuwasava district. Sutlej was picked through global bidding to develop the project preparing its detailed project report (DPR).

    “The developer has to apply for generation license once it completes the process of survey,” the source disclosed.

    Meantime, Sutlej which is opposing the government´s newly introduced template of project development agreement (PDA) has been waiting to get approval for its EIA.

    “The IBN has requested MoEST to speed up the process of approving EIA of Arun III,” a source close to Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) said. Additionally, Sutlej has already disclosed financial plan in September on how it is going to invest Rs 81 billion as fixed capital and Rs 1.5 billion for variable cost.

    It had also presented its plan for laying transmission lines to connect project with the national power grid. The Indian power developer, has agreed to supply just 21 percent of its total production to the Nepal Electricity Authority.

    Source : Republica