Friday, May 31, 2013

NEA decides to upgrade Upper Trishuli 3A hydro project to 90MW

Despite a huge opposition, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) board today decided to upgrade the Upper Trishuli 3A hydro power project, according to the request of the contractor China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd.
The board meeting chaired by the Minister for Energy Uma Kanta Jha decided to upgrade the hydropower project from 60 MW to 90 MW. With the upgradation of the project, its cost has also increased to $132 million from $89 million.
Earlier, the project was expected to be completed by May 30, 2014 but the upgradation – at the time when it has only one year left to complete the project but completed only 21 per cent of the work – will delay the project by two more years.
Those, who are protesting the upgradation, claims that it will cause NEA huge loss of around Rs 4 billion not only due to delay but also the project could not add enough energy in the dry season despite increased cost.
However, the NEA and the contractor are claiming that the upgradation will benefit the country as the project will produce more power.
Since last week, the five trade unions of NEA have been asking the chairman of Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi not to upgrade the project that will hurt the NEA.
Former Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai had – through cabinet decision – allowed NEA board to upgrade the hydropower project, claiming that the study panel formed by him has researched in detail it’s legal and technical aspects and suggested to upgrade the run of the river project to 90MW.
The NEA had decided to award Upper Trishuli 3A hydro power project to China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd under Engineering,
Procurement and Construction (EPC) model to avoid the project escalation cost as most of the power projects in the past ran into various trouble and cost the country more.
The protesters claimed that the EPC model of contract cannot be revised and the contractor should pay the government compensation, if it could not complete the project on time.
The Exim Bank of China has provided soft loan of $89 million for the project.

No comments: