KATHMANDU, JAN 03 –
The Cabinet is likely to approve a proposal of upgrading capacity of Upper Trishuli 3A despite protest from opposition parties and reservation of officials from Energy Ministry and Nepal Electricity Authority.
Energy Ministry Secretary Hari Ram Koirala said that a Cabinet meeting on Thursday would likely to endorse the controversial proposal.
Both Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Energy Secretary Koirala have been making efforts to upgrade the project’s capacity from existing 60MW to 90MW as per the interest of the contractor. The Chinese contractor, China Gezhouba Group Co Ltd, has long been demanding the project upgradation. According to the NEA, the Chinese contractor has already increased the cost for the upgradation. The company, which had initially quoted Rs 2 billion, has now doubled the cost to Rs 4 billion. “The additional Rs 2 billion will be misused,” said the official.
After its plan to upgrade the project’s capacity was denied twice by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board, the ministry had tabled its proposal to Cabinet in the mid-December. The ministry had decided to upgrade the capacity through a ministry-level decision although PM Bhattarai had assured former energy ministers that he would take a decision with their consensus.
A majority of NEA and ministry officials, however, are against the move and are ignorrant about the latest development. The proposed upgradation will require an additional investment of Rs 4 billion and the project will be delayed by two more years at a time when the country is in dire need of power supply.
Source : The Kathmandu Post