Feasibility, ESIA studies to be completed by July

Kathmandu, October 20

The government has said that it will finalise the feasibility and Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) studies of the 1,110-megawatt Sunkoshi II and 536-megawatt Sunkoshi III reservoir projects by July next year.

Publishing a public notice today, the Department of Electricity Development (DED) informed that the government is working on the ESIA scoping in the affected areas of Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Ramechhap and Sindhuli districts. The department has asked the people in the affected areas to provide their suggestions to the DED within 15 days.

Nabin Raj Singh, director general of DED, said that they have expedited the works related to feasibility and ESIA studies. “We have also started making the people aware about the location of the dam, reservoir and other infrastructure so that they can give necessary feedback.”

The government has already awarded the contract to conduct the feasibility and ESIA studies to a Nepal-China joint venture company. The JV has two Nepali firms — SIDRI Co and ERMC — and China Three Gorges as partners.

Uddab Raj Chaulagain, managing director of ERMC, said they are conducting the feasibility study as per the detailed engineering format. “After we submit the report to the government, only project design works will remain and the government can simultaneously prepare the detailed engineering design and work on the investment modality.”

According to him, at present, they are awaiting some strategic policy related issues from the government for the final design works.

A study report prepared by Japan International Cooperation Agency in 1985 had suggested to build the project under the public-private-partnership model. It had also mentioned that the project development cost of Sunkoshi III would hover around $582 million. However, the exact cost can be ascertained only after the detailed design is finalised. Meanwhile, the Sunkoshi II project is expected to cost $1.02 billion.

Earlier, Investment Board Nepal had showcased both the projects in the third Nepal Investment Summit on March 29-30 in Kathmandu.

Moreover, in June last year, the government had kept the two projects in top priority for discussions during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s state visit to China. At that time, the government had proposed to the Chinese government to include both the projects in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, the Chinese government has not yet decided on whether to keep the projects in BRI.

Meanwhile, as per officials from energy ministry, the Chinese government has given a hint that the projects could be included in BRI, so preparatory works have been expedited.