70% progress made in Arun III hydel

Sankhuwasabha, Feb. 14: About 70 per cent of physical progress has been made in the 900-megawatt Arun III hydropower project being built in Sankhuwasabha district of Koshi Province. Progress has been achieved in the dam construction area, and tunnel and powerhouse construction works.

A dam for the project is being constructed at Phaksinda Dobhan located in Makalu Rural Municipality-5. Arun Dhiman, Chief Executive Officer of Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, the promoter of the Arun III Hydropower Project, said that construction of 2,548,000 cubic meters of the 2,556,000 cubic metre dam has been completed. He said that the concreting work of the dam will begin soon after managing the soil. The 11-km tunnel from the dam site to the powerhouse has already been opened. According to Dhiman,  heading, benching and concreting works on the tunnel have reached the final stage. 

Likewise, the construction of a powerhouse in Chichila Rural Municipality 3, Pukhuwa Dobhan, is moving in full swing. Ramesh Chandra Suleriya, Deputy General Manager of Arun III Hydropower Project, said that the entire structure of the powerhouse would be underground.

Suleriya said that the required two halls (rooms) have already been constructed and concreting and equipment fixing works in the halls were underway. The electricity will be generated by installing two turbines inside the halls. If the project faces no obstacle, the entire construction work will be completed within the next two years, it is said.

Stating that the construction work has been affected by the repeated interruptions as the locals have not received compensation, General Manager Suleriya said that even during the construction of the transmission line, obstacles were created in some places.

He said that more obstructions were created in Sankhuwasabha district for the construction of the 400 kV transmission line. Similarly, there is also disruption in Tamkemaiyug Rural Municipality of Bhojpur district.  However, the works are moving ahead smoothly in other districts.

It has been arranged in the Project Development Agreement (PDA) that locals will get shares in the Arun III Hydropower Project only after the project is completed. It is mentioned in the PDA that shares will be given to locals within one year of the commercial production.

According to the PDA, shares worth Rs. 1.6 billion will be given to locals. Out of the said share amount, 50 per cent (Rs. 800 million) will be distributed in the first instalment and after the end of the first production year, the remaining 50 per cent shares will be distributed.

It has been said in the PDA that priority will be given to the directly affected locals while distributing the shares. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 104 billion. Nepal will get 21.9 per cent of electricity generated from the project free of cost, and around Rs. 348 billion will be received as economic benefits.

 The directly affected families will receive up to 30 units of electricity per month after the generation of electricity begins. It is mentioned in the PDA that the project will be handed over to the government of Nepal 25 years after its completion.

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