NEA To Start Construction Of Budhigandaki Hydropower Project

NEA To Start Construction Of Budhigandaki Hydropower Project

April 5, 2023, 8:05 a.m.

After years of obstructions, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned utility responsible for producing and distributing electric power, jumped to start the construction of the Budhigandaki Hydropower Project.

Building 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, NEA has already shown its capacity to build and manage the resources constructing the mega hydropower project. Unlike Upper Tamakoshi, which lied in remote parts of Nepal, Budhigandaki is in the close to capaital. NEA will likely to complete the project in time.

For this, NEA has taken steps to own majority shares in the Budhigandaki hydropower project. Having faced many ups and downs since its feasibility study was conducted in 1983/84, the 1200 megawatts national pride project has been now almost stalled due to various reasons.

However, the government has decided to breathe a new life into the project with the establishment of the Budhigandaki Hydropower Public Limited lately. The establishment of the public limited has ended uncertainties and issues over the financial and operational modalities of the estimated Rs 331 billion project.

To deal with the issue, a taskforce has been formed under the coordination of the NEA's deputy executive director Pradip Kumar Thike. The share structures will be changed acting on the report given by the taskforce, he said.

It may be noted that earlier Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' had directed the forwarding of the project. So, the share structures of the project would be changed, said Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, also member of the NEA Board of Directors at an event organised here recently.

A feasibility study of the project, located in Dhading and Gorkha districts, took place in 1983/84. The NEA carried out another study in 2010. It again conducted a feasibility study, and prepared a detail design and a bidding document before reaching an agreement with a French company.

For developing the project, then the government led by Dr Baburam Bhattarai formed a committee to which the French company submitted the detail project report later in 2014.

Later in 2017, the Ministry and the Chinese company, Gezhouba Group, signed a memorandum of understanding to proceed ahead with the project.

The same year, the government decided to develop the project with domestic investments acting on the report submitted by the National Planning Commission.

However, again in 2018, then the government led by KP Sharma Oli decided to hand the project to the Gezhouba Group. After the Group lost its contact, the government in 2022 took back the project, and established the Budhigandaki hydropower public limited.

In line with the existing procedures, the authorized capital of the public company will be worth Rs 20 billion, and the issued capital Rs 20 billion.

As per the existing structures, of the remaining shares of the share issuances to the public, the Energy Ministry will have 50 percent, the Finance Ministry 30 percent and the NEA 20 percent.

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