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828 MW Uttar Ganga hydro project revived after 7 years

- PRAHLAD RIJAL, Kathmandu

Apr 18, 2019-

The Uttar Ganga Power Company, a subsidiary of Nepal Electricity Authority, has invited expression of interest for consulting services to prepare detailed engineering design and bidding documents for the 828 megawatt Uttar Ganga Storage Hydroelectric Project in Baglung.

The Rs130 billion project has been revived after seven years. It had been bogged down by conflict of interest by political leaders.

The project had failed to progress because of heated disputes on inter-basin diversion of water from the reservoir-type hydropower plant to be constructed by collecting water from the Uttar Ganga stream of Dhorpatan and other surrounding streams.

A reliable source close to the project said that conflict of interests between former Energy Minister Janardan Sharma, then leader of Maoist (Centre) and former Finance Minister and CPN-UML leader Bishnu Poudel had halted the project. While Sharma wanted diversion of water to the Bheri River, Poudel wanted diversion to the Gandaki basin. “Demands by these powerful party leaders put the project in a state of uncertainty,” the source said.

“Following multiple meetings between now unified Nepal Communist Party leaders, including co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Gokarna Bista, the issue seems to be resolved now,” the source said. “A consensus has been reached to divert water to Gandaki basin that was proposed by Nepal Electricity Authority, which was also proposed by Poudel.”

Diverting water to the Gandaki basin is technically and financially feasible when it comes to generating optimum energy from the project, the source said. According to project officials, they are in the final stages of preparing the feasibility study and have initiated the process to hire consultants after getting financial guarantee from the government.

The objective of the consulting service is to review the feasibility study, including the detailed engineering design to prepare the documents before inviting the bids. “We have planned to appoint the consultant within six to nine months,” said Ambikesh Kumar Jha, chief of the project. During the announcement of Electricity Development Decade 2016-2026, the government had included Uttar Ganga Hydroelectric among the 11 storage hydroelectricity projects. The government plans to generate 5,000 MW within a decade.

According to Jha, the consultants are expected to finish preparing the detailed design, tender drawing, construction planning and also draw up bidding documents including civil, hydro-mechanical, electro-mechanical and transmission lines within 18 months of their appointment.

“The estimated cost of the project stands at Rs130 billion. The estimate, however, can be revised after the consultants prepare the detailed engineering design of the project,” Jha said. The final deadline for submission of expression of interest has been set for May 12 and the consulting firm is expected to be appointed by October.

As per a preliminary study, the hydroelectricity plant situated at Baglung will be able to generate power five hours a day in the dry season that normally begins from November and lasts until April. For water storage and evacuation, the project is expected to build a 200 metre high dam and a 1.1 km long diversion tunnel.

Published: 18-04-2019 08:43

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