DPR for Nalsing Gadh Hydro Project delayedThe preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for the Nalsing Gadh Hydropower Project located in mid-western Nepal has been affected due to a flurry of “anonymous complaints” against the consultant appointment process.
The preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for the Nalsing Gadh Hydropower Project located in mid-western Nepal has been affected due to a flurry of “anonymous complaints” against the consultant appointment process.
The 410 MW project in Jajarkot district had been identified as one of the potential storage-type hydropower projects by the Identification and Feasibility Study of Storage Projects conducted in 1999-2001.
The Nalsing Gadh Development Committee had set the project moving after many years, but the “water mafia” has been strongly trying to thwart their efforts, locals said. They have demanded that the DPR be completed soon as the project has been stalled for a long time.
“We have issued a notice to the shortlisted consultants for the DPR contract,” said Moti Bahadur Kunwar, executive director of the committee. He added that a number of anonymous complaints against the appointment of consultants had complicated the project’s development process.
Last July, the committee had selected SMEC International of Australia to conduct the DPR based on a financial and technical evaluation. It had initially shortlisted five among the 15 applicants. The shortlisted firms were narrowed down to three—SMEC International of Australia, MWH of the US and AF Consultant of Switzerland—during the final review. Following the selection, the second bidder had complained that the appointment process was not transparent. However, Kunwar said that they had selected the consultant in a fair and transparent manner. SMEC had quoted a price of Rs1.12 billion to prepare the DPR compared to the committee’s estimated cost of Rs1.25 billion. The committee had later negotiated a lower price of Rs940 million, he said.
The consultant appointment process landed in controversy after a number of complaints were filed with the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, the Prime Minister’s Office, Energy Ministry and varied watchdog agencies.
Kunwar said that growing obstructions could affect the project’s progress and that the government should act to stop unnecessary intervention. “If the process moves ahead smoothly, the DPR will be completed within three years; and the project will be completed seven years after that.”
The Nepal Electricity Authority had done a feasibility study of the project four years ago. More than Rs1 billion has been spent on various tasks related to the project.
“The government should develop the project with its own resources,” said Ganesh Prasad Singh, chairman of the stakeholders’ concerned committee. “We are alert with regard to the project as the ‘water mafia’ could obstruct it.” “As the project does not cost very much, the government should implement it on its own,” said Minister for Home Affairs Shakti Bahadur Basnet.
The Nalsing Gadh Hydropower Project is important as it can produce electricity round the year and will have a smaller environmental impact. “Moreover, a nominal number of locals will have to be relocated from the project site,” said Basnet.