HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: An international consortium trying to build the 216 MW Upper Trishuli project is hopeful that the government will correct its earlier decision to cancel the survey license.
“We don’t want to see politicisation of the issue,” said Keehyun Han of Daelim Industrial Co, who is currently in Kathmandu to sort out the issue. “We have a committed interest to invest and produce electricity for the Nepali people, so we decided to invest in Nepal,” he added.
The Korean consortium has already spent several million dollars on the project, and every month they are spending about two million dollars.
Currently, 50 per cent shares of the KWEDC is owned by Korea South East Power Company (KOSEP), 15 per cent by Daelim, 10 percent by Kyeryong Construction and the remaining 25 percent by Bikesh Pradhananga. International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank group is eventually planning to take up 15 per cent of the stakes.
Energy Secretary Hari Ram Koirala decided to scrap the licence on June 29. Two days later, IDS Energy and China Hydro submitted application at the Department of Electricity Development (DoED) seeking the projects licence.
On July 3, the government sent a letter to NWED saying their licence for power generation had been canceled.
Officials at the Energy Ministry are adamant about the correctness of the decision and resent pressure from the Prime Minister.
However, NWEDC is contesting the ministry’s interpretation of Electricity Rule 12, on the basis of which the energy secretary revoked the company’s licence.
The company says they submitted the feasibility report to the Department of Electricity Development.
“A technical feasibility study was done by the Nepali promoter at his own cost,” says Han “It was so technically sound that we came to Nepal to do the project,” he said.
The Nepali promoter, meanwhile, has his own stories about the obstacles in his bid to develop the project.
The first hurdle came soon after they received the licence in 2007, when the CIAA asked the government to cancel the survey license, according to Bikesh Pradhananga, the Nepali promoter of the project. It took two years for the company to win the battle in the court. Then conflict between the energy secretary and then minister Prakash Sharan Mahat delayed renewal of their licence by another six months, Pradhananga says.