Nepal | August 13, 2020

Government finalises investment modality of Bheri-Babai diversion project

Himalayan News Service
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The government has finalised the investment modality of the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose (Irrigation/ Hydropower) Project. The Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoE- WRI) has decided to take the project forward by adopting the company model as its investment modality under the ‘Nepal’s Water, People’s Investment’ scheme.

Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Barsha Man Pun, had held a meeting on Monday with concerned stakeholders, including Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, chief minister of Karnali Province, to discuss on the investment modality of the project. In the meeting, Minister Pun had proposed an investment modality whereby investments would be made by the federal, province and local bodies, project-affected locals as well as the general public.

Rabindranath Shrestha, secretary at the MoEWRI, informed that a pact has been reached on the investment proposal made by minister.

According to Madhu Prasad Bhetwal, coordinator of the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project and joint secretary at the energy ministry, the government will have 51 per cent investment in the project with 26 per cent of it being contributed by the federal government, 20 per cent by the Karnali provincial government and five per cent by the local level governments.

Similarly, 29 per cent investment will be collected from general public across the country, 10 per cent from people in Karnali Province and 10 per cent from residents of project-affected areas, said Bhetwal. He also added that the investment will be made through shares.

Earlier, the Department of Irrigation, under the MoE- WRI, had set a target of irrigating 51,000 hectares of land in Banke and Bardiya through the project throughout the year. The project will be constructed by diverting 40 cubic metres of water per second from Bheri River and will also generate 46.8 megawatts of electricity.

Currently, the tunnel construction work of the project has been completed and the construction of headworks and power house has started.

Minister Pun said that the government has set a target to complete construction of the project in fiscal 2022-23.

The responsibility of project construction has been assigned to the Department of Water Resources and Irrigation under the MoEWRI.

Once the project is completed, it will be managed and operated by a company with shareholders, representatives of the federal, provincial and local governments and the general public.

For the aforementioned purpose, a public company called ‘Bheri-Babai Diversion Hydropower Company’ will be established under the ownership of the government.

The revised cost of the project at present stands at Rs 33.19 billion. Of this total investment, 40 per cent will be allocated for civil construction work, 35 per cent for tunnel construction, two per cent for tunnel construction consultancy services and 11 per cent for electromechanical construction of transmission line. The remaining amount has been earmarked for other official expenses.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 29, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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