• 23 Dec 2015 | 03:15am

    KATHMANDU, Dec 23: Lawmaker Gagan Thapa has said the government has only two choices regarding hydropower projects -- either clear all bottlenecks and administrative hurdles within a week or two or remain idle like it did in the past years.
Making a presentation during a discussion with Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli in the meeting of Agriculture and Water Resources Committee (AWRC) of parliament on Tuesday, Thapa, who is also the chairman of the committee, said hydropower projects were facing number of problems due to indecisiveness of the government. “It is unfortunate that the issues we discussed two years ago have not been addressed yet. The situation might be the same in coming days as well,” he said.

He also asked PM Oli to establish a special desk to deal to facilitate hydropower developers, who, at present, have to knock the doors of as many as seven ministries and 23 government departments. Speaking at the discussion, Oli expressed commitment to take action against civil servants not performing their responsibility. “It is a matter of shame that we are lagging behind in energy generation even though it has already been a century that we started harnessing hydropower,” he added.

Parliamentary Natural Resources and Means Committee had given similar direction to the Ministry of Energy two years ago. It had directed the ministry to devise a long-term vision of energy security. “AWRC had issued similar direction about three months ago. However, there has been no progress at all,” said Thapa. Periodic plans have set targets to develop hydropower projects with combined capacity of 4,263 MW so far. But the county has been able to generate only around 800 MW so far. Generation during dry season is less than half of the installed capacity, according to a presentation made by Thapa. Budhigandaki Hydropower project was identified in the early 1980s. But we have not been able to finalize development modality of the 1200 MW even today, he added.
Thapa also stressed the need to make necessary amendments to existing laws related to energy for facilitating hydropower development.