Money

IBN seeks rights for two hydro projects

  • Betan Karnali and Bheri-1
- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Dec 5, 2017-Investment Board Nepal (IBN) has asked the Energy Ministry for the implementation rights for the Betan Karnali and Bheri-1 hydropower projects as it has the sole authority to execute schemes with a capacity of 500 MW or more.

IBN has requested the ministry to send the documents related to the Betan Karnali and Bheri-1 projects which have a capacity of 688 MW and 617 MW respectively, both located in western Nepal.

“As the installed capacity of the two projects is well above 500 MW, we have asked the ministry to send the files of those project to IBN,” said a highly placed source at the board. “As the survey licences of both projects have already been issued, we will take them from here.”

As per the Investment Board Act 2011, IBN has the sole authority to implement projects of 500 MW and above.

The ministry has recently issued the survey licences for the Betan Karnali project to Betan Karnali Sanchayakarta Hydropower Company, a subsidiary of the Employees Provident Fund, and for the Bheri-1 project to Vidhyut Utpadan Company.

Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry is yet to respond to IBN’s claim, and has been consulting with the Law Ministry before reaching a decision.

“One week ago, we forwarded IBN’s letter to the Law Ministry seeking its advice,” said the Energy Ministry source. “We are yet to get a response from the Law Ministry. Once we get it, we will take a decision immediately.”

This is not the first time that the Energy Ministry has gone beyond its jurisdiction and awarded survey licences for hydropower projects with an installed capacity of 500 MW and above.

The Energy Ministry issued a survey license for the 650 MW Tamakoshi 3 to TBI Holding on October 12, even while IBN was preparing to invite international bids to develop the much-awaited hydropower project.

The licence is currently suspended following a Supreme Court order issued in November telling the Energy Ministry to put things on hold before it reaches a final verdict. The Supreme Court issued the order in response to a writ petition filed by lawyer Subash Budhathoki arguing that IBN should implement the project.

“The Energy Ministry has repeatedly overstepped its bounds and tried to bypass IBN,” said the IBN source. “As the IBN Act clearly states that projects of 500 MW and above should be implemented by IBN, the ministry should stop acting in this manner. There are numerous projects with an installed capacity of less than 500 MW, so the ministry has many licences to give out.” 

Published: 05-12-2017 08:49

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