Kathmandu, November 9
The federal government has initiated the process of establishing a company for the electricity generated from the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project, a national pride project. Under the ‘People’s Hydropower Scheme’, the company will be set up with the participation of local, provincial and federal governments and the general public.
As per the structure of the company prepared by the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, 49 per cent shares of the hydropower component of the multipurpose project will be allocated to the public.
Of the 49 per cent shares to be allotted to the public, 10 per cent has been separated for those affected by the project and 10 per cent for locals of Karnali Province. The remaining 29 per cent will be distributed to other general people.
Similarly, of the remaining 51 per cent shares that the company will have control of, the government will allocate 20 per cent to the provincial government of Karnali Province, five per cent to local governments in Karnali Province and 26 per cent will be retained by the federal government.
After inspecting the project recently, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun had said that a majority of the shares would be distributed among the general people and locals of the affected areas.
After the share allocation structure was finalised, the Karnali Province government has decided to send its secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Development as a representative on the company’s board.
The project was started with a target of generating 48 megawatts of electricity and irrigating 51,000 hectares of land in Banke and Bardiya districts by diverting water from the Bheri River to the Babai River through a 12.2-km-long tunnel.
In the first phase, China Engineering Overseas Ltd has completed the construction of the tunnel with the help of a tunnel boring machine in April last year, ahead of its projected schedule.
As per Sanjiv Baral, project director, the second phase of construction work has already begun.
A Chinese firm, Guangdong Construction Engineering Group Co, and Nepal’s Raman Construction have jointly begun the development of the second phase infrastructure.
Works related to cutting trees and design survey are being done in the project area. As per the second phase, a six-gauge barrage, surge shaft and power house are in the construction phase.
“We have already coordinated with the local level regarding the use of district and community forests and other construction materials,” Baral informed.
As per the revised masterplan of the Irrigation Department, the entire project is expected to cost Rs 33.19 billion and will be completed by fiscal 2022-23.
A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.