The Kathmandu Post, Bhim Bahadaur Singh, 11th May 2017, Jajarkot
Locals of Jajarkot look determined to cast votes to candidates who have concrete plans to tap the immense hydroelectricity potential of the district. At present candidates vying for different posts in local election in the district are busy convincing the voters with their development agendas like clean water, irrigation, roads and agricultural modernisation among others.
The Jajarkot locals on the other hand are asking the candidates about their plans to develop the 410 MW Nalsing Gad Hydropower Project. “Despite the fact that we have immense hydro electricity potential, we are forced to live in the darkness without electricity,” said Man Bahadur Nepali of Sakla, Jajarkot. “A few wealthy ones are enjoying light by installing solar power but the majority are dependent on the traditional kerosene lamps.”
Therefore, the Jajarkot locals, during this election will not be fooled by the politicians who share fake promises, Nepali added. “Instead, we are asking each candidate to present concrete plans to develop the Nalsing Gad Hydro,” he said. “Candidates from every party said the project will be ready within 5 to 7 years. Some of them
said the government will build the project whereas some said private company will develop it.”
However, in reality, the project is stuck in limbo as it has yet to finalise the detailed project report (DPR) to develop the hydropower project. Currently, SMEC MWH Uday Consult is preparing the DPR of the project.
A recently held Cabinet meeting decided to scrap the development committee of the project, paving the way for development of the hydro project under the company model. With this decision, the ownership of the projects has come under the purview of Electricity Generation Company Limited which was incorporated in October 2016 by the government. The generation company, according to the Energy Ministry, will either form a subsidiary company or forge partnerships with national and international private developers to create special purpose vehicles to develop the project.
Nalsing Gad is considered as one of most strategic projects because of the high water level in the river basin, small number of households that need to be displaced, stable water flow in the river and less cumbersome land acquisition process.
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility completed the project’s feasibility study at a cost of around Rs1 billion four years ago. Tasks like construction of a weather station, automatic discharge gauging, buildings and camps around the reservoir and embankment sites have already been concluded. Other works like land acquisition, compensation distribution, and construction of access road and embankment, among others, are under way. The Rs100-billion project will displace 588 households. The project needs to acquire 300 hectares of cultivable land and 300 hectares of forest area.