KATHMANDU: Despite opposition from different sectors, the board meeting of the Nepal Electricity Authority has decided to upgrade Upper Trishuli 3A hydro project from 60 MW to 90 MW. There have been protests from different sectors saying the upgradation will result in losses to NEA due to the delay caused in the completion of the project.
The meeting chaired by Minister for Energy Uma Kant Jha reviewed the agreement signed with China Gezhouba Group Company to construct the hydro project. The company had won the project as the lowest bidder and the agreement was signed on engineering, procurement and construction model on 1 June 2011. According to the revised decision, the cost of the project has increased to $132 million from $89 million.
The Himalayan Times daily quoted NEA’s Managing Director Rameshwor Yadav as saying that the project will be completed within 35 months. It was agreed today to spend $20 million in addition to the company’s proposal of $111 million for upgrading the project to 90 MW.
The project was expected to be completed on 30 May 2014 but the revision has delayed the project by two years. “Energy will be produced at the rate of Rs 2.70 per unit which is cheaper than the Power Purchase Agreement rate of Rs 4.80 for the summer and Rs 8.40 for the winter season,” he added.
Before the upgradation deal was signed, the five trade unions of NEA had urged the Chairman of Interim Election Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi to stop the upgradation. Rameshwor Paudel, General Secretary of NEA Employees Union, said they would protest the decision and not let it be implemented. They said they would announce the protest programs on Sunday after a meeting of all the trade unions.
Earlier, former Energy ministers Ram Sharan Mahat, Gokarna Bista and Prakash Sharan Mahat requested former government led by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and urged not to updrade the project. They had also protested the awarding of the project to the company without open competition. However, Bhattarai’s Cabinet had allowed the Nepal Electricity Authority board in principle to go ahead with capacity increment after studying the technical and legal aspects.
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