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Trouble in Trishuli

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
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The government has revoked the licence of Nepal Water and Energy, the company involved in the development of 216 MW Upper Trishuli-1 hydropower project, and the future of the $500 million venture, which was scheduled to be completed by 2018 is now uncertain. According to sources at the Ministry of Energy, officials are planning to give the licence to IDS and Hydro China Company instead.

Just two days before Nepal Water and Energy’s licence was cancelled, Secretary Hari Ram Koirala had asked Hydro China and IDS to apply for the licence. According to the source, IDS belongs to former Finance Minister and UML leader, Bharatmohan Adhikari’s relative Sujit Acharya.

Korea South East Power Company, Daelim Industrial Company, Kyeryong Construction Industries Company and Bikesh Pradhananga from Nepal are the main investors and International Finance Corporation of the World Bank had also expressed interest in investing15 per cent and even signed the MoU with all stakeholders last March.

After the ministry decided to scrap the licence of Trishul-1, the World Bank and other donors requested Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to revoke the decision. Although the PM ordered Koirala not to cancel the licence, Koirala refused to follow his directions. A proposal was sent to the cabinet to allow Nepal Water and to work for one and half year as per the energy act.

In addition to Upper Trishuli-1, the secretary at the Ministry of Energy has cancelled the licence of three other projects. Questions are now being raised about why the ministry is discouraging projects that could help solve the country’s energy crisis.

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