Ramesh Khatiwada, My Republica, July 31, 2019
DOLAKHA: It has been revealed that TBI Holdings, the promoter of Tamakoshi 3 Hydropower Project (650 MW), reduced the project's capacity to about a third, to prevent scrapping of its survey license.
TBI Holdings signed agreement with two Chinese companies – YEIG International and Shanghai Investment Design and Research Institute Corporation – in Kathmandu on Thursday to develop 280-megwatt capacity hydropower plant. TBI Holdings had received survey license to build the plant of 650-megawatt capacity.
The Nepali company had received the license from the Department of Electricity Development on October 12, 2017. As per the licensing provision, it had to complete the survey in two years.
However, the company signed agreement with the Chinese companies two and a half months before expiry of its license.
Zhang Guohua, vice governor of southwest China's Yunnan Province was also present in the signing ceremony between the Nepali and Chinese companies.
The Chinese companies is said to have experience of producing 18,000 megawatts of electricity.
According to an official of the Department of Energy, the company signed agreement with the Chinese companies to start work of the project by lowering its capacity because its license was expiring in two and half months.
Though the project should have been implemented through the Investment Board Nepal, the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) had directly handed the project's license to TBI Holdings.
Bhaban Bhatta, chairman of TBI Holdings who also happens to be the president of Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), said his company decided to lower the project's capacity as developing a 650-megawatt plant in that area involves great geological and investment risks. Talking to Republica over phone from Japan, he said the company signed agreement with Chinese investors to build a 280-megawatt plant in the first phase. "We will build the project in a phase-wise manner," Bhatta said, adding that the agreement also states that the project's capacity will be increased gradually.
"No investors ever want to lower capacity of their plant. We took decision to minimize risks," he added.