Friday, May 11, 2007

Go Ahead with Upper Seti Project, Experts Tell NEA

Go Ahead with Upper Seti Project, Experts Tell NEA

THT Online
Kathmandu, May 11

A team of experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is currently conducting feasibility study of 128 MW Upper Seti Hydroelectricity Project, has recommended the Nepal Electricity Authority to do the needful to develop the project as new source of power.
"We recommend the NEA to proceed to the next stage of study to develop the Upper Seti project as a new power source," said Masayoshi Ishii, while addressing a stakeholders' meeting on Thursday. He is the leader of the Japanese study team.
He said the team examined the feasibility of the project in terms of technology, impact on the environment, economic cost and financial aspect from February 2005 to January 2007 and found it suitable to be developed.
The project has been identified as a possible remedy for the current power shortage. The NEA had undertaken a feasibility study in 2001, an upgrading feasibility in 2004 and the JICA had initiated a preliminary study in 2004.
The findings of the recent Upgrading Feasibility Study by the JICA team showed that the project would make stable power frequency, maintain power voltage in network, reduce or replace operation hours of costly thermal power plants and reinforcement of NEA's network by transmission.
The study has estimated that the project would cost to the tune of $340 million and would take six years, including preparatory works.
Previous stakeholders meeting for the same project had pointed out that various development needs such as electricity facility, drinking water and schools should be considered and duly undertaken.
Meantime, a member of the JICA team, Masami Yasu, said that the project is going to make impact on land use, air quality, noise, water quality and construction spoils.
The report states that habitat of some wild species will be disturbed by the project.
"Since similar habitat conditions are widely seen in the vicinity of the study area, it is considered that possibility of specific species extinction is little in the wilder area including the project site," the report states.
Toshiko Shimada, who had studied on the framework of resettlement plan and social action plan, said that land acquisition and involuntary resettlement should be avoided where feasible and minimise to the extent possible.
"Affected persons shall be compensated at replacement cost for all losses and damaged assets. The absence of legal titles to lands, property and facilities shall not be a bar to compensation," she said. The study has estimated that the resettlement plan alone would cost over Rs 1,000 million to the project.

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