KATHMANDU, JULY 12
Since the government has been unable to draft the necessary documents to take 50 per cent ownership of Khimti Hydropower Project, the fate of the 60-megawatt project has landed in uncertainty.
As per the project development agreement inked on January 15, 1996, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) had to take 50 per cent ownership of the project by July 11 this year.
Citing the problems posed by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, both NEA and the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) have not made any preparations to ink a new agreement.
As per the project development agreement, from July 12 this year all procedures related to acquire 50 per cent ownership should have been completed by the power utility and the project should have been operating through a joint venture.
Prabin Aryal, joint secretary at MoEWRI, said that the government is preparing to introduce interim arrangements to manage and operate the Khimti Hydropower Project and that the project will not be shut down. He added that the ministry will soon finalise all the details to take 50 per cent ownership of the project.
Aryal informed that the ministry has already sent a letter to the promoter, Himal Power Ltd, for an interim management. “Even though the agreement had expired we sent a draft memorandum of understanding to the promoter company to make interim arrangements for the operation of the Khimti power plant,” he mentioned.
“We have asked Himal Power Ltd to bear the expenses of the operational cost for the time being which we will adjust later,” he said.
According to him, even though the government has reached the final stage of negotiations with Khimti’s promoters, the process of taking over Khimti has not been able to move forward as the concerned officials of the promoter company could not come to Nepal in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier, the MoEWRI had formed a team led by Joint Secretary Aryal and comprising of officials of NEA to