The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has said that the works related to the detailed project report (DPR) of the 425-megawatt peaking-runof-the-river type Betan Karnali hydropower project will be completed by August.
Works related to the DPR and the Environmental Impact Assessment are being carried out by NEA Engineering Company, a subsidiary of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
To develop the project, EPF had started collecting funds from its members since fiscal 2016-17. The fund had urged its members to invest the cash dividend that it had distributed in the project, which a majority agreed to. At present, it has collected around Rs 4.32 billion for the purpose.
The EPF had asked depositors to invest their cash dividend in the project from fiscal 2015-16 and has been converting the cash dividend into shares of the hydro company.
The EPF has 600,000 depositors and it has committed to generate equity investment of around Rs 21 billion for Betan Karnali. Out of the total estimated investment of around Rs 70 billion, 30 per cent or Rs 21 billion will be share capital and 70 per cent or Rs 49 billion will be loan investment. Earlier, Nepal SBI Bank and Nabil Bank had made a commitment to provide Rs 25 billion under consortium financing for the project.
According to Rajendra Kafle, joint administrator of EPF, it is planning to complete the project within five years of the DPR being finalised.
The developer of the project is Betan Karnali Sanchayakarta Hydropower Co Ltd.
As per EPF, out of the projected Rs 21 billion equity investment, 40 per cent will be mobilised from member depositors, 15 per cent through institutional investment of EPF, 10 per cent from the generation company — Betan Karnali Sanchayakarta Hydropower Co Ltd, 10 per cent from Nepal Electricity Authority, 10 per cent shares will be allotted to the project-affected locals and 15 per cent will be allotted to the public through initial public offering.
The project will be located in Surkhet district. The initial projected capacity of the project was 688 megawatts but it was reduced as it could affect the 10,800MW Karnali Chisapani Hydropower Project that is located downstream.
The Karnali Chisapani project is expected to be the largest energy project in the South Asian region.
The Himalayan Times