Print Edition - 2012-02-05  |  The Economist

Koshi high dam project: Nepal, India aye to begin feasibility study

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Koshi high dam project: Nepal, India aye to begin feasibility study

Feb 4, 2012-

Officials from Nepal and India on Saturday agreed to carry out a joint feasibility study of the much-talked-about Sapta Koshi multi-purpose project by the end of 2013.

The ambitious multi-billion dollar project will combine irrigation facilities, a flood control system, power generation of 3,000 MW, a 269-metre waterway and construction of an 883 ft high concrete or rock-filled dam. On 19 December 1996, both the sides had agreed to take the long-pending project ahead and carry out a pre-feasibility study.

The feasibility study will look into the nitty-gritty of the Sapta Koshi High Dam Multipurpose Project and Sun Koshi Storage-cum-Diversion Scheme.

A two-day meeting on this ended on Saturday in Kathmandu, where DP Singh of Nepal and SP Kakaran of India led their countries.

According to Nepali officials, millions of dollars will be spent for the feasibility study, and India would bear most of the cost. According to the agreement, the study will cover topological, geological and seismological surveys and drillings across the project sites and prepare an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

Following an agreement between Nepal and India to develop a multi-purpose project, a Joint Project Office (JPO) was set up in 2004 in Biratnagar to carry out the pre-feasibility study. The Maoist insurgency and frequent obstructions delayed the submission of the report.

To carry out the feasibility study, the two sides have agreed to strengthen the JPO with recruitment of more engineers and manpower.

 The feasibility study will identify locations and routes of channels, their number, quality of construction materials and their availability, among other things.

 According to the pre-feasibility study, the proposed 269-metre high concrete or rock-filled dam will be constructed roughly 2.6 km north of Chatara. The high dam is likely to submerge at least 82 villages located 500 ft above sea level.

The project has three main channels for irrigation. Two out of the three channels—east and west—will be constructed to convey water to India, while one channel on the east will provide irrigation facilities to three districts—Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari. Four separate subsidiary channels will be constructed to convey water to different parts of Nepal that will irrigate land up to Parsa district in the west.

“Within the next two weeks, a team from the Nepal Electricity Authority will visit India and discuss the geological study of the project with the Central Electricity Authority there. This will make way for us to move ahead again,” an official who attended the meeting said.

“We will enter the next phase in early 2004 for the Detailed Project Report ( DRP). Only the DPR can tell us about the benefits of the project, the number of  people to be affected, the relocation ideas, rehabilitation and compensation,” the official added.

What the multi-billion dollar project has

Irrigation facilities       

Flood control system  

3,000 MW power generation   

269-metre waterway

883-ft high concrete or rock-filled dam

Published: 05-02-2012 09:57

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