West Seti project gets moving after govt nod

west_setiDOTI, JUN 13 – The West Seti Hydropower Project has started to move ahead following the government’s endorsement of the construction agreement. A Chinese technical team has begun the process for erecting accommodation camps and office space at Lamikhal village development committee.

Project developer CWE Investment Corporation is presently making a geological survey of the spot where the project will be built besides conducting a series of interaction programmes with locals. The technicians said they had been studying the local geological structure for the past one week.

The Chinese team has signed a pact with PS Construction Company of Doti to erect buildings to accommodate the staffers and house an office. According to Prem Shankar Bhatta, a building with 22 rooms will be built under the contract.

In April 2015, Investment Board Nepal (IBN) had approved CWE Investment’s scheme to construct the 750 MW West Seti Hydropower Project. The Chinese company received the final approval for the Rs160 billion project almost three years after it signed a memorandum of understanding with IBN. CWE Investment, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Company, had inked the MoU in August 2012.

“The development has enthused people living in the country’s Far Western Region,” said Tek Bahadur Singh of Lami Khala, Doti. “We are hopeful that the project will be initiated soon.”

Envisioned two decades ago, the project received much needed impetus during the Nepal visit of Three Gorges Chairman Lu Chun in March. Lu had then met with Prime Minister Koirala, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and Energy Minister Radha Gyawali.

The Chinese side had given its commitment to the project and also expressed a desire to begin drilling and geological and hydrological studies before the monsoon.

The first study of West Seti was conducted in 1987. Two decades ago, Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation had shown interest in developing the project. An agreement was signed between the government and the Australian company but the licence was revoked as it did not start work on time.

Subsequently in 2012, the government signed an agreement with the Chinese company to develop the project. However, the parliamentary committee then had suspicions about the proposal and ordered that the plan be put on hold, forcing it to languish in limbo for a long time.

Source : eKantipur