Upper Arun Hydropower Project to be developed in domestic investment



Kathmandu, Sept. 22: Decks have been cleared to develop the Upper Arun Hydropower Project of around 1,000 megawatt in the domestic investment.
As per the system developed, commoners would be given 49 per cent in share while Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and other companies would invest the remaining cost for the development of the project situated in Sankhuwasabha district.
The meeting of Council of Ministers held Friday has given approval in principle to the NEA under the Ministry of Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation to advance the project in company model. As per the government nod, the NEA would establish a subsidiary company to develop the project, exactly the same as the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project. It is said that people having no income sources but with labour capacity would be provided with two percent in share of the project.
The Ministry has said that the decision to procede the Upper Arun Hydropower Project was initiated aiming to develop it as a true project of the citizens. Experts claim that the project could generate as high as 1,500 megawatt power if it was designed as per Q35.
The cabinet meeting on Friday also amended the earlier project modality that was issued avoiding the company project. With the latest move, the NEA would invest through the project.
The detail project report (DPR) of the Upper Arun is being developed by a Chinese consulting firm Changjiang Institute of Survey Planning Design and Research (CISPDR) and it would be completed within a year. The total cost of the DPR is estimated Rs 1.31 billion.
As per the preliminary study, the production cost of per unit power is around Rs 2.74.
NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising said that total cost of the project would be confirmed only after the finalization of the DPR. NEA is preparing to make the Upper Arun Project a reservoir-based project that is to be developed some 20 kilometres above the dam site of under construction Arun-III Hydropower Project in Phaksinda Dovan.
The report of the NEA states that limited land area would be inundated even if the project was developed in the reservoir-based modality and the cost of the project would be very low, even lower than the Upper Karnali Project.
The then Chief Secretary Leelamani Paudyal in the capacity of the chairman of the NEA had also decided to advance the project at the cost of Nepalis. At a time when the NEA has no such lucrative project for the development, Upper Arun Project could be the best feasible and lucrative project to ensure profit to the NEA.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has also expressed its concern to purchase the energy generated from the project. The high-level officials of the Government of Bangladesh had expressed their readiness to purchase the power during Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun’s visit to Bangladesh. Ramesh Lamsal, RSS

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