Committee submits report on Upper Karnali PDA to premier with more recommendation

Committee submits report on Upper Karnali PDA to premier with more recommendation

A high-level committee submitted its report on revised draft Project Development Agreement (PDA) for Upper Karnali Hydropower Project to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. The report has added some more recommendations for the proposed 900 MW-Upper Karnali Hydropower Project. The government has formed the high-level committee to revise recommendation as some political parties opposed the earlier deaft. The technical committee has made a 24-point recommendation to the PDA negotiation team to maximise benefit for the country. It has asked to make sure that the project will be handed over to the government after 25 years in a functional state, local construction materials and insurance companies will get priority during the construction of the mega project. Likewise, the committee has recommended to ensure GMR's technical support Rani-Jamara-Kulariya, Rajapur and Suryapatuwa, and other proposed irrigation projects downstream Upper Karnali construction site, if they are affected. "But the generation company GMR should carry out a study within six months of the PDA signing to ascertain the impact on all existing projects downstream as well as river training work, river banks and settlements," it recommended. Likewise, the other disputed issue of Rs 5 million per megawatt (MW) cash incentive has been asked to settle according to law. The current fiscal year's budget has announced cash incentive to the projects that connect the electricity to the national grid within fiscal year 2017-18. Similarly, the report has also suggested that there should be more clarity on 'political force majuere', meaning the government will have to pay compensation, if there is a nation-wide strike for more than 21 days. The committee led by National Planning Commission vice chairman Dr Govinda Raj Pokharel also studied the draft PDA considering national and international practices, discussed with various stakeholders, and took their suggestions before preparing the report, according to a joint press state issued by planninc commission vice chair Investment Board of Nepal chief executive officer Radhesh Pant. After Pokharel – who led the 13-member technical committee – handed the report to Koirala, who is also the chairman of Investment Board of Nepal, the deck has been cleared for Investment Board of Nepal to sign the agreement with India’s GMR-ITD Consortium. The government had formed the panel on August 2 with chief secretary Lila Mani Poudel, central bank governor Dr Yub Raj Khatiwada, secretaries of Finance, Energy, Law and Justice, Forest and Soil Conservation, Land Reform, Irrigation ministries, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, and chief executive officer of the Investment Board of Nepal, the statement read.
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