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Govt has prioritised development of energy sector: PM Dahal

B360 June 5, 2024, 9:07 am
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SANKHUWASABHA: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has stated that the government has prioritised the development of the energy sector. 

While inaugurating the 'breakthrough' of the Arun-3 Hydropower Project tunnel at Amrang, Makalu Rural Municipality-5 in Sankhuwasabha district, he emphasised that the government, which is focused on achieving developed country status by 2026 and meeting the sustainable development goals by 2030, has given high priority to infrastructure development.

"I have been gathering information about this project both directly and indirectly. It is currently under construction following the signing of the power development agreement on November 25, 2014. I am pleased to learn that it has made 74.09% progress towards production and 37.95% progress towards the transmission line," he said.

Prime Minister Dahal expressed confidence that this project will significantly contribute to Nepal's power trade sector upon completion.

"I urge the relevant parties to complete the remaining works of the project within the stipulated time, providing the necessary cooperation and facilitation in acquiring the land required for it," PM Dahal said.

He stated that the government has prioritised the development of the energy sector in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and the capacity of the national power system would be increased to 4500 megawatts (MW), including the 900MW of electricity to be generated from this project.

"I make a special request to the political parties, civil society, and locals active at the local level to facilitate the timely completion of the project, considering the government incurs an economic loss of Rs 22.7 million per day if commercial production does not start on the stipulated date or if power production is delayed for any reason," he added.

Acknowledging the concerns of the locals affected by the project, the Prime Minister said the government is serious about addressing their issues. 

He suggested that it would be better to seek solutions through cooperation and facilitation to any challenges in development endeavours, which will be in the collective interest of all.

On the occasion, Minister for Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, expressed hope that the project will significantly contribute to the promotion of Nepal's energy sector. 

He also reminded of the government's target of generating 28,500MW of electricity in the next 12 years.  

India's ambassador to Nepal, Naveen Srivastava, said the project is important in the course of implementing the agreement of power trade of 10,000MW between Nepal and India in the next 10 years.

Arun has high potential for power generation and such potentialities should be explored through a collaborative effort between the two countries, he asserted. He said the government of India is ready to cooperate with Nepal to explore the possibilities for launching other projects based on the Arun River. 

Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam's Chief Managing Director Sushil Kumar Sharma said Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been facilitating the implementation of the project since the beginning.

So far, the project reports 75% progress, he said, urging the Prime Minister to create an atmosphere conducive to completing it on time. He insisted on upgrading the Koshi Highway and facilitating the land acquisition procedures for the construction of a transmission mine. 

He advised the government to form a high-level coordination committee and to seek solutions to the challenges regarding the project implementation in collaboration with the Investment Board of Nepal. 

The project is expected to enter the production phase by March 2025. The production of 900MW of electricity will be supported by four turbines of 225MW each. 

Its power house is based in Pukuwa of Chichila Rural Municipality-3 and the project will have an 11.8-kilometre tunnel.

Investment Board Nepal CEO Sushil Bhatta and the local people's representatives were also present on the occasion. The project is being developed by India's public company Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam and of the power to be generated by it, Nepal will have access to 21.9% of the production (around 200MW) free of cost, and the remaining will be exported to India. It will come into the ownership of Nepal after 25 years of the commencement of power production. 

It was jointly inaugurated by then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 11, 2018. Its PDA was observed on November 26, 2014.

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JUNE 2024

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