KATHMANDU: Indecision and confusion loom over the upgradation of Upper Trishuli 3A project even after the government decided to allow the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board to upgrade the project to 90 MW from 60 MW.
A Cabinet meet on January 3 had decided to upgrade the project to 90 MW without citing any reason, but the NEA Board is yet to decide on the upgradation amid contrasting views of its members on the issue.
In a technical report, NEA Director Subas Dahal had recommended against upgradation of the run-of-the-river project whereas a report of joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy Moti Bahadur Konwar had not given any clear suggestion.
The Cabinet had told the NEA board to look into technical, financial and legal aspects of upgradation, but the latter has not bothered to discuss the same at its meetings that have Chief Secretary Lilamani Paudel as chair.
The board, though, has directed the NEA management to continue with the project work as earlier until further decision.
Apparently, the move came in the wake of fears that the ongoing project work may come to a halt if the situation of indecision persists. It should be noted that trade unions at the NEA have opposed the Cabinet decision. They argue that upgradation will not increase the project’s power generation capacity during the dry season, while it will delay the project by another three years, resulting in losses worth millions.
NEA board member Bishwa Prakash Gautam said upgradation does not make sense, adding that the board will not make a decision in favour of upgradation in the wake of criticism from all quarters. Another board member Teknatha Acharya refused to speak on the issue.
Speaking at a press meet at the NEA yesterday, newly-appointed NEA board member Dambar Bahadur Nepali spoke in favour of upgradation, though he failed to prove his point. He then walked out evading journalists’ questions.
At the press meet, NEA Managing Director Rameshwor Yadav said they are yet to look into technical, legal and economic aspects of the upgradation. Of the eight NEA board members, only Yadav and Nepali attended the press conference.
The government has also come under fire for awarding the upgradation work to the China Gezhouba Group Company breaching procurement laws.
Source : The Himalayan Times