Flood-Affected Hydropower Projects in Crisis

  2 min 45 sec to read
Flood-Affected Hydropower Projects in Crisis

March 28: The promoters of 30 hydropower projects, who have suffered damages worth billions of rupees due to the floods and landslides of last monsoon, have complained that they have not received any relief from the government even nine months after the disaster.

Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN), an umbrella organization of private sector hydropower developers, said that 30 projects built in eastern Nepal suffered losses worth Rs 8.5 billion due to the floods and landslides that occurred on June 16.

The floods damaged 13 completed projects and 17 under construction projects in Taplejung, Panchthar, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur and other districts this year. IPPAN said that three of the 13 completed projects have been re-commissioned, but the rest have not yet been put into operation.

During a discussion held at the finance committee under the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the energy producers complained that they did not get relief for a long time after suffering damage from the natural calamity and that the affected projects were in crisis because they did not even get customs exemptions for the import of spare parts required for maintenance.

During the meeting, IPPAN President Ganesh Karki complained that even though private sector projects, which account for 60 per cent of the country's energy production, suffered extensive damage, they could not get any relief or facilities from the state. “We discussed this issue with the prime minister and the energy minister many times. We urged them to provide us refinancing facility at low interest rates for damaged projects in addition to exemption of insurance premium and customs duty for the import of repair parts. However, we did not get anything besides assurances," he said.

Panchthar Power Company is one of the affected projects. In the meeting, Rajesh Kumar Shrestha, the chairman of the company, said that the spare parts brought for repair have been stuck for months at the customs yard because the government did not give customs exemption.

The government has said that the facility of getting customs exemption on such goods has been removed from the current fiscal year.

The promoters of the damaged project said that they have no income and it is difficult to repay the bank loan because they cannot start the project. They shared that the damaged projects face the risk of being blacklisted by the banks.

Energy Secretary Gopal Sigdel said that since the issue of tax exemption falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance, there is a need to forward a proposal to the Cabinet. However, he pointed out that since the issue of tax exemption has been removed from the Economic Act, it is not possible to make such a proposal.

MPs from the damaged project area accused the government of not paying attention to the protection of energy promoters. MP Deepak Khadka said that the government must be serious and generous on behalf of the victims.

No comments yet. Be the first one to comment.