Monday, July 1, 2013

Government plans to encourage cooperative investment in hydropower

The government has promised to attract cooperative investment in the energy sector, though the mushrooming cooperatives in the Kathmandu valley have been operating against the basic norms of cooperatives movements and cheating their members.
The country has huge potential in hydropower sector and cooperative investment will be encouraged in the coming years, said secretary at the Ministry of Energy Bishwa Prasad Pandit.
The government will bring policy to attract cooperative sector in hydropower, he said, adding that cooperative should invest in hydropower to fulfill the energy need of the country. “Bringing cooperative sector in hydropower could end scheduled load-shedding hours.”
Pandit urged cooperatives to build small and medium scale hydropower projects in the country. Though he also promised to bring policy framework to support cooperative investment in hydropower projects, transmission lines and distribution, without a strong regulatory arrangement, the proposed investment of cooperatives in hydropower will not only damage the hydropower sector, but also encourage huge deposits of the members of cooperatives as has been happening currently. There has been a huge investment of cooperatives in realty and housing sectors.
Currently, the cooperative sector’s investment in energy sector is low. “Cooperatives have been after profits in short run, so they have been ignoring hydropower sector,” said registrar at Department of Cooperatives Kedar Neupane.
The cooperative sector can invest around Rs 100 billion, he said, urging Ministry of Energy to facilitate cooperative sector to bring their investment in hydropower projects development.
A cooperative sector hydropower company — People’s Hydro — has been planning to construct a medium scale hydropower plant in Dolkha district. “But the government policy is not clear regarding cooperative sector investment,” said president of the company Krishna Acharya. “The government should attract remittance in hydropower to end increasing load-shedding hours.”
“A good project and marketing can attract billions of rupees from migrant workers in the sector,” Acharya pointed out.
Cooperatives demanded to exclude built-operate-and-transfer (BOOT) model – that makes it mandatory for the project developers to hand over hydel project to government in 30 years – while constructing hydropower projects.
“There should not be 30-year limit for hydropower cooperatives,” managing director at Everest Energy Cooperatives Tek Prasad Chaulagai, said, on the occasion. Similarly, they have also demanded to abolish the 15 per cent profit limit for hydropower cooperatives.

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