Report spells out factors behind Nepal hydropower corruption

KATHMANDU: Lack of dependable data and manipulation of hydrological data have promoted policy corruption in Nepal's hydropower sector, according to a Transparency International Nepal's report published on Monday.

Irregularities start from the stages of project selection and identification and this tendency would advance in the period of survey and the project implementation, the report states, highlighting a responsible role from the government level to control this practice.

Lack of dependable hydrological data and authentic study, ambivalent action plans, lack of transparency in the power purchase agreement and failure to increase the risk-bearing capacity among power developers have remained major hindrances towards the development of hydropower sector, the TI Nepal concluded.

Environment standard violations, inadequate compensation in regard to land acquisition, false claims, unreasonable local demands, unwarranted contract variations, bias in selection of top officials like board members and CEOs during the construction, procurement and implementation phases are also working as a catalyst to bring the hydro sector under the grip of corruption, the report pointed out.

It further stated that corruption was high in the public procurement process and this promoted institutionalisation of corruption.

Factors like political influence exerted in the course of making the national budget, preparing fake documents and reports, taking forward projects without prior field studies and the failure to determine priority-based projects have helped make hydropower sector of the country non-transparent, the report said.

Lengthy and non-transparent government process and the lack of high level commitment and coordination between various ministries, departments and sectors have added to the problem, it added.

To resolve such problems revolving around the hydropower in Nepal, the report suggested making public procurement process transparent and responsible, conducting a scientific and dependable study of projects and establishing coordination between Nepal Electricity Authority and the Department of Electricity Development.

It also suggested making the National Vigilance Centre more professional and accountable, ending corruption and misappropriation at the policy level and establishing a permanent mechanism to resolve problems surfaced in projects.