Unions call off protests after NEA backtracks

Aug 28, 2015- Agitating trade unions at the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) have withdrawn all their protest programmes after it agreed to conduct a study before developing the planned Aandhi Khola hydropower project.

Last June, the NEA board had approved a plan to sign a joint development agreement (JDA) with a Chinese firm to build the 180 MW project located in Galyang, Syangja.
NEA workers’ unions had opposed the deal as it was made without going through a competitive bidding
process.
The disgruntled unions had even picketed the office of the NEA’s Managing Director Mukesh Raj Kafle after the board’s decision.
Following Thursday’s development, the state-owned power utility and the unions have also agreed to scrap the proposed deal. Under the accord that has been cancelled, China Gezhouba Water and Power (Group) would have a 85 percent stake in the project and the rest of the shares would be held by the NEA.
The NEA and the trade unions affiliated to various political parties have forged a 43-point agreement. As per the pact, the NEA or the Chinese company could be allowed to conduct a project study before signing a JDA and proceeding to other steps.
The unions have also criticized the tendency of awarding project contracts directly through a board decision. They have raised concerns that the construction of the Aandhi Khola project without conducting a study would hit the energy production of the Kali Gandaki Hydropower Project.
“If the NEA board’s decision on the distribution of the project’s shares is implemented, the management will have to handle all the difficult tasks. On the other hand, the Chinese company will be making profits,” the unions said in a joint press statement. “We believe that the NEA management will be implementing all the decisions.”
The agreement also states that an appropriate model will be adopted before bringing a project developing partner, based on the NEA’s needs and interest.

Source :eKantipur