Arun-III and Upper Karnali hydroelectric projects: IBN told to hand over forest landParliamentary Finance Committee on Sunday directed Investment Board Nepal (IBN) to expedite the process of handing over forest land to developers of two mega hydroelectric projects with installed capacity of 900 MW each.
Parliamentary Finance Committee on Sunday directed Investment Board Nepal (IBN) to expedite the process of handing over forest land to developers of two mega hydroelectric projects with installed capacity of 900 MW each.
The committee also instructed IBN to complete all pending works by holding board meetings at regular intervals.
IBN, which oversees investment worth Rs10 billion or more and hydroelectric projects of 500 MW or more, has not been able to work effectively, as it has not been able to hold its board meeting for the last five months.
Earlier, the parliamentary Development Committee had also directed IBN to hold its board meeting at the earliest, stating delays in decision-making processes.
IBN held its last board meeting on July 22 when KP Oli was the prime minister. The country’s prime minister automatically assumes the post of chairman at IBN. But since Pushpa Kamal Dahal became the head of the government IBN has not been able to hold its board meeting.
Because of this, developers of Arun III and Upper Karnali hydroelectric projects, which have installed capacity of 900 MW each, have been facing problems in acquiring forest land, lawmakers, who took part in Sunday’s meeting, complained.
“We have therefore directed IBN to immediately initiate the process of handing over forest land to the two project developers,” said Finance Committee Chairman Prakash Jwala.
Many landowners whose properties were acquired for the Arun III hydroelectric project in Sankhuwasabha district have received financial compensation from developers since the payment scheme was launched in early November.
Similarly, developer of Upper Karnali hydropower project has also sealed land acquisition deals with remaining residents of Achham and Dailekh districts, completing the process of pooling private land required for project. Although both the projects have completed the process of acquiring private land, they have not been able to acquire forest land because of delays made by the government.
The developers of Arun III project need to acquire around 125 hectares of forest land, while developers of Upper Karnali project is seeking to acquire around 273 hectares of forest land.
“In this regard, we have directed IBN to hold its board meeting immediately and address the issue,” said Jwala. “IBN should also hold its meetings at regular intervals to ensure other project developers don’t face unnecessary problems.”
The inability to hold board meetings has also prevented IBN from approving the recently prepared draft Project Investment Agreement (PIA).
The PIA is a ‘marketing document’ to show that Nepal is an FDI-friendly destination, and it contains a list of facilities to lure potential investors.
After signing the agreement, investors will get various benefits such as tax exemptions and procedural help to set up and operate projects, according to IBN.