Locals demand to take forward Upper Arun Hydropower Project

Sankhuwasabha, Sept 22(RSS): Locals in Sankhuwasabha district have urged with the Energy Minister to take forward the 1,061-megawatt Upper Arun Hydropower Project at the earliest.    
The half-reservoir hydropower project is likely to be constructed at Chonggrak of Bhotekhola Rural Municipality-4 in Sankhuwasabha district. A high-level team led by Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal visited the construction site on Wednesday where the locals had placed the request for the same.    
Locals had assured of full cooperation to the team comprising representatives from Ministry of Finance, World Bank and secretaries of the concerned ministries for the construction of the hydro power project.    
A stakeholder forum’s chair Ladar Bhote said that they were eager to use the electricity produced by the project in their soil. “We are hopeful that the project would bring about good changes in the locality. The Health and education sector are likely to undergo reforms due to the project,” said Bhote, pledging utmost cooperation from their side for the project.    
Minister Bhusal, in response, said the project would be constructed once they conclude a detail study of the project that was underway and discussion on investment modality that was also in the offing.    
She assured that the locals would be benefitted from the Upper Arun Hydro Power Project and called for their cooperation for the project which she projected to be a ‘game-changer’. 

Nepal Electricity Authority’s auxiliary company Arun Hyrdo Electric Company has been entrusted with the responsibility to construct the project where the general public will have 49 per cent shares.    
 For the investments, discussions were being held with the World Bank and the European Union for loan in subsidized rate while Citizen Investment Trust, Employees Provident Fund are also the likely investors for the project.    
The federal government, provincial government and the local government will also invest in the semi-storage project which is expected to generate over 4.5 billion units of electricity annually.    
The World Bank is expected to provide over 13.1 million USD loan in subsidized rate for the project expected to commence within 2023 and complete by 2030. The Project for which 180 hectare land is needed is said to displace a total of 25 households.    
The visiting team comprised secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Devendra Karki, Secretary at the Ministry of Finance Madhukumar Marasini, World Bank’s vice chairperson for South Asia region Hartwig Schafer, World Bank’s executive director Mohd Hassan among others. The team also inspected the site where the main physical structure and power production house would be built.    

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