Money

Law Ministry puts IBN-Energy Ministry dispute to rest

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu
The Energy Ministry has hailed the Law Ministry’s decision for clearing the confusion between the ministry and the board

Feb 4, 2018-The Law Ministry has resolved the long-standing dispute between the Energy Ministry and the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) over authority to issue licence to large hydropower projects with an installed capacity of 500MW or more. 

In its letter to the Energy Ministry on Friday, the Law Ministry has said the former has the sole authority to issue survey licences for hydropower projects and that issuing such licences will not encroach IBN’s jurisdiction nor violate the provision of Investment Board Act.

“Section 9 of the Investment Board Act does not give the IBN authority to issue survey licence of any kind of hydropower project, while Section 4 of the Electricity Act clearly allows the Energy Ministry to issue such licence,” reads the letter by the Law Ministry. “The IBN’s role in implementing the hydropower projects comes only after the survey is completed when the investment is required for the project development.” The letter further said the project’s exact installed capacity is determined only after the survey is completed.

The Law Ministry’s explanation has limited the IBN’s role to arranging the fund for development of hydropower projects, while endorsing the Energy Ministry’s recent decision to award a survey licence of the Betan Karnali and Bheri-1 projects to Betan Karnali Sanchayakarta Hydropower Company and Vidhyut Utpadan Company respectively.

The dispute between the two state-agencies had flared up after the IBN asked the Energy Ministry for the implementation rights for the 688-MW Betan Karnali and 617-MW Bheri-1 hydropower projects in western Nepal, claiming that it held the sole authority to execute schemes with a capacity of 500 MW or more. In a letter to the Energy Ministry in December, the IBN had asked the ministry to send the related documents of the two hydropower projects. Subsequently, the Energy Ministry decided to consult with the Law Ministry before reaching a decision and forwarded IBN’s letter to it.

Before issuing the letter, the Law Ministry had held talks with the Energy Ministry and the IBN in the last week of December to resolve the dispute between the two over the right to implement two large hydropower projects. During the meeting, both the parties had claimed their ownership of the two projects.   

The Energy Ministry has welcomed the Law Ministry’s letter, thanking it for clearing the confusion between the ministry and the board. “The letter has cleared all our doubts regarding the implementation of the hydropower projects with installed capacity of 500MW or more,” said Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, spokesperson for the Energy Ministry. “We will now forward the letter from the Law Ministry to the IBN.”

Published: 04-02-2018 07:50

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