MD Ghising’s Rush Hour: NEA To Renovate Gandak Hydropower Plant

MD Ghising’s Rush Hour: NEA To Renovate Gandak Hydropower Plant

Nov. 10, 2022, 9:15 a.m.

As his promise for quality and uninterrupted electricity supply, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Kul Man Ghising is taking several steps.

MD Ghising is rush visiting different project sites aiming to expedite and accelerate the project works.

From taking the initiative to construct four Digit Upper Arun to installing a solar power plant for mixing and hydrogen, he has been clearing the obstruction in the construction of transmission line projects, which is strategically important to evacuate the distribute the electricity.

With the verdict of the court, the 220 kV Bardaghat-Bharatpur Transmission line has already started operation. Stalled for a long, NEA also was able to end the deadlock in the construction of a substation in Chobhar, a strategically important Transmission and distribution system to maintain the power supply in the valley.

With the verdict of the court, Nepal’s most important 400 kV Hetauda-Ithari Transmission line project has started the remaining work. Despite certain disputes in Hetauda, MD Ghising is taking all efforts to complete the project by consulting with political leaders, the local community and the concerned administration authority.

MD Ghising's recent visit to Gandak Hydropower Plant is another important step, Operated for decades in low capacity and without proper maintenance, the 15 MW Gandak Hydropower Plant is an economic burden rather than a boon for the country.

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Constructed with the support from the Government of India under the Gandak Agreement, the 15 MW Gandak Project would have immensely contributed to the economic development of the western region of Nepal. Equipped by almost four-decades-old plants, the hydropower project has been generating very nominal electricity even in the water available in the canal.

However, the situation of the power project is going to change in near future. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is going to renovate and modernize the 15 MW Gandak Hydropower Plant located in Pratappur Rural Municipality-7, Suryapura of Nawalparasi (Bardaghat Susta West).

After the electromechanical equipment such as the turbine and breaker of the power plant became old, dilapidated and unusable, NEA managing has decided to rehabilitate and modernize the project by installing new equipment in place of the old ones. Along with power plants, most of the buildings and structures on the power station premises have also become dilapidated.

Started Electricity generation in April 1979 and handed over the project by India on 31 August 1981, the hydroelectric power, which was built in accordance with the Gandak Agreement between the government of Nepal and India, has rarely generated its full capacity over the year

As his commitment to improving the power supply and quality of power in his second innings at NEA, Managing Director Kul Man Ghising has been taking several initiatives including the construction of a four-digit project and the improvement of old projects. With his direction, NEA Engineering Company Ltd. has prepared a detailed design and cost estimate for the restoration and modernization of the Gandak Hydropower Project. The detailed report has already been submitted to NEA.

According to the study, Rs. 420 million will be required for the renovation and modernization of the hydropower project. There are three units of 5 MW each in the power plant. According to the port, two of them are in working condition, while one unit is damaged and has not been working for a long time.

NEA’s official said that the conditions of the two operating units are also old and need to be replaced.

According to the Gandak Agreement between the two countries, the entire right to operate the Gandak Dam rests with the authorities of the Bihar Government of India. The power plant operates only after the water is released by authorities in India.

With frequent disruptions, it is impossible to operate the power plant easily and continuously throughout the year.

In his nationwide inspection trip, Managing Director Ghising visited the site leading a high-level team. He received information about the condition of the hydropower plant.

Ghising said that since the equipment of the power plant, which was built over four decades ago, has become old and unusable, tenders for rehabilitation and modernization will be called soon.

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“For maintenance and inspection, the Indian side closes the canal for almost four months every year in October-November and March-April. After the canal is closed, the power plant cannot be operated due to lack of water," he said. "Because the equipment is old, even when water is available, the power plant is not running at full capacity, so it is going to be renovated and modernized."

A barrage has been built on the Narayani River in Balmiki Nagar (Bhaisialotan) of Bihar State on the Nepal-India border. From this barrage, the water from the Narayani River has been channeled to India for irrigation by constructing two canals, the Gandak main east and west.

Sunil Kumar Chaturvedi, chief of Gandak Hydropower Project, said that since there is no need of water for irrigation in the winter season, the canal is closed every year for maintenance and inspection.

"It is said that the canal will be repaired every year, but from what we can see, no repair work has been done, when the canal is closed for about four months every year, electricity cannot be produced," said Chaturvedi.

"There is no need to repair the canal every year, it has been discussed with the officials of the department several times but no conclusion has been reached."

Solar power on barren land in Gandak

At a time when the hydropower plant is not generating electricity in its full capacity and Nepal need to have to mix energy source, the NEA is going to construct a solar power project with an installed capacity of about 6 megawatts on the barren land owned by the Gandak Hydropower Project at Pratappur Rural Municipality-7 Suryapura, Nawalparasi (Bardaghat Susta West).

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Out of the 34 bigha of land owned by the Project, the solar project will be constructed on 9.7 bighas of land. Along with Gandak, a solar power project of about 9 megawatts will be constructed on the land owned by Middile Marsyangdi Hydro Project located in Lamjung and Jhuprakhola Micro-hydro Project located in Surkhet, said the NEA.

The estimated cost of the project is 11.5 million euros. For the construction of the project, the German government will provide a grant of 6 million euros through the KFW Development Bank.

The shortfall will be covered by the government and the NEA.

Madhyamarsyangdi and Jhuprakhola hydropower plants will be equipped with about 1 and 2 megawatts of solar power respectively. The electricity produced in the afternoon through the solar panels will be directly connected to the national transmission line.

NEA MD Ghising said that the work is being advanced with the goal of completing the entire contract process and starting the construction of the project within one year. The construction of the project is planned to be completed by January 2024.

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