The government has revoked the licence of Nepal Water Energy Development Company (NWEDC), which was involved in the development of 216 MW Upper Trishuli-1 hydropower project, and the future of the $500 million venture, 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 NWEDC'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.
After the ministry decided to scrap the licence of Trishuli-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 NWEDC to work for one and half year as per the energy act.
The cabinet's Financial and Infrastructure Committee is divided over reviving NWEDC's. While some in the committee are pressing for fresh tender, others want NWEDC's licence to be revived. The committee has asked for more details from the Ministry of Energy to take a final decision over the future of Trishuli-1.
In addition to Upper Trishuli-1, the secretary at the Ministry of Energy has cancelled the licences 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.