Bomb-blast at SJVN's Nepal hydropower project site ahead of launch
30 April 2018
A bomb exploded at the office of the Arun III Hydroelectric Power Plant in Nepal on Sunday, after the Nepal government awarded generation licence to SJVN, which has been tasked with the execution of the project.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to lay the foundation stone for the project on 11 May, after the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) on Saturday decided to award generation licence to the Arun-3 Hydroelectric Project to SJVN.
A compound wall has been damaged, while there were no injuries, officials said, adding that no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.
Incidentally, this is the second blast in a month at India-linked properties in Nepal.
The Investment Board of Nepal also extended the financial closure deadline for the 900 MW run-of-the-river scheme in the Sankhuwasabha district in north-eastern Nepal by six months following expiry of the previous deadline in March.
Modi and Oli will jointly lay the foundation stone of the hydropower plant remotely.
The foundation stone laying ceremony was originally planned for April when Prime Minister Oli visited New Delhi. The ceremony was put off after Nepal said that preparatory work had not been completed. According to multiple sources, Nepal sought to defer the scheduled programme as the project’s generation licence, which allows the company to produce energy, had not been issued.
The IBN’s 29th board meeting held on 9 March had decided to direct its CEO to publish a 35-day public notice stating the intent to award the licence to the Indian firm. No claim was filed or concern was expressed against the development of the project during the 35-day period, which paved the way for the IBN to issue the generation license. SJVN had applied for the generation licence around one and a half months ago.
SJVN has so far hired a contractor to implement the first package of the civil work that includes construction of a dam, diversion tunnel, headrace tunnel and intake tunnels.
The contractor has also mobilised a team to the dam site. The project developer is in the process of hiring contractors to build a powerhouse and transmission lines, and to execute the electro- and hydro-mechanical works.
In November 2014, the IBN signed an agreement with Indian government-owned SJVN for development of the Arun-3 Hydroelectric Project. The plant is slated to come online by 2020 as per the accord.
But the timeline is unlikely to be met as the financial closure deadline has been pushed back twice by a year and then six months, respectively. The project has completed major tasks like acquisition of private land and is in the process of acquiring public forest land.
According to the IBN, Nepal will receive Rs34,800 crore over 25 years from the project.
The project developer will also provide 21.9 per cent of the energy free of cost, which is worth Rs15 500 crore, plus another Rs10,700 crore in royalties.