GMR seeks more time to study downstream impacts

GMR Seeks More Time To Study Downstream Impacts

26 March 2015 | Nagarik (supplement) 
Laxman Biyogi

KATHMANDU, MAR 25: India’s GMR, which is developing the 900 megawatt Upper Karnali Hydropower Project, has sought one more month to study the impacts of the project on the downstream irrigation projects. The Company has prepared the final report, but the Company sought one more month after the Department of Irrigation Project directed the Company to present facts in the case of some supposedly affected areas.  The Indian firm GMR and the Investment Board Nepal had signed the Upper Karnali Project Development Agreement (PDA) six months back. It had been agreed that the GMR would prepare a report on whether the hydropower plant would impact the downstream Ranijamara Kuleriye Irrigation Project.  The Company had informed the Investment Board Nepal and the Department of Irrigation about the study conducted so far. 

Director of the Department of Irrigation Madhav Belbase said that the Company had completed the study within the jurisdiction, and added that he has directed the company to verify to the facts and figures of some of the affected areas.  “We will know what the company should do and should not do for the safety of the irrigation project only after the conclusion of the study comes out,’ he told Nagarik, “The Company has sought four weeks to conduct the study to see things as per our directive. We are continuously monitoring the study.” Belbase says that the study conducted by the Company should be convincing to the concerned authorities. “There is nothing wrong in taking extra time. There should be enough ground for the common people to believe the report. It will not be good if there are hues and cries after the final report comes out.” 

GMR’s Project Director Dilip Kumar Sign said that the draft of the report has already been prepared and will be submitted to the Board in 3-4 weeks. “We cannot say anything on the type of problems that will emerge in the region and the tasks we need to do until the final report is prepared.”   He said that the report will be prepared very soon as the project plans to attain the financial closure and begin the construction work. The ministries of energy, finance, law, forest, environment, land reforms, irrigation, and water and energy commission had suggested that the government conduct environmental studies to know the losses to be incurred by the project construction.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Investment Board Nepal, Radhesh Pant said that GMR has sought one more month to conclude the report, but added that the report would be concluded in two weeks. The officials from the National Planning Commission (NPC) say that the hydropower plant should be constructed in such a way that the under-construction Ranijamara, Kuleriya, Surya Patuawa and Rajpur projects are not affected.