Sunday, 3 March, 2024

Crucial Power Projects

With the stable government in place, the country is making moderate progress in the field of economy, trade, investment and tourism. The topmost priority of the government is to achieve rapid economic growth essential to realise the motto of Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali. It has stressed the optimal utilisation of limited means and resources. Business and investment friendly policies have been adopted to bring in largest possible foreign investment so as to build the critical infrastructures such as road, water supply, irrigation, electricity, schools, hospitals and so on. As the nation is endowed with the immense natural resources, especially water, the new government has focused on generating thousands of megawatts of electricity for meeting domestic needs and exporting the surplus energy.

As part of the government’s policy to complete the under construction hydropower projects in time, 60-MW Upper Trishuli Three ‘A’ Hydropower Project has come into operation. The other day Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli inaugurated it by switching a button from the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers at Singha Durbar. The construction of the project had begun eight years ago and it started generation three months ago. It is yet to complete testing work as it has not been given the Taking-Over Certificate. The newly generated electricity will help the country attain self-sufficiency in energy sector and contribute to modernising agriculture and opening new industries. This will also enable to reduce the import of power from India.

PM Oli, while underlining the need for building strong foundation for economic development, inclusion and justice, also pointed out entrenched malaise besetting the development-- unwarranted compensation claims for the land that is acquired by the projects. He said: “Construction of development projects and their costs have increased when we tend to seek unnecessary benefits and compensation from such projects. There has been also a trend to show the least evaluation of income to avoid tax and claim high compensation when any development projects are in the offing.” The local people and project officials often lock horns over the value of the land, hindering the construction works. Many hydropower plants under construction hit the roadblocks as the land acquisition process becomes complex and causes inordinate delay in the project works.

Indeed it is wrong tendency to claim high compensation by going beyond the stated rules and conditions. One reason for the high claim of compensation of the acquired land is that its price shoots up with the construction of hydropower projects in its vicinity. As the significant amount of budget goes into settling the issues of land acquisition, the estimated costs of project also go up. One must not forget that when the development works take place, they benefit all stakeholders, including the local people. Therefore, it is imperative that all concerned should extend cooperation for the timely execution of the projects and share the benefits. The completion of the ongoing projects is necessary to boost economic growth and create jobs for the young people who are compelled to go abroad for employment.