Indian firms flood Nepal with hydropower proposals

September 22nd, 2008 - 3:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 22 (IANS) Heartened by two Indian investors’ entry into Nepal’s once closely guarded hydropower sector, more and more Indian companies are now eyeing the Himalayan republic with over two-thirds of the latest applications for licence coming from firms in New Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Hyderabad.Of the 72 recent applications made at Nepal’s Department of Electricity Development, over 60 are from Indian companies, including the GMR group that broke the ice in a sector the Indian government itself could not penetrate in the past due to the prevailing political distrust and instability here.

GMR Energy, which became the trendsetter by bagging the 300 MW Upper Karnali project despite opposition by local organisations and some sister concerns of the ruling Maoist party, is now back to do more business, seeking licences to develop the 500 MW Tila project and the more modest Karnali Gutu that can generate up to 144 MW.

Jindal Steel and Power, that was worsted by GMR in the race for Upper Karnali, is also back in the ring, setting its sights on eight new projects.

Jindal is seeking to develop one of the biggest deals, the 10,800 MW Karnali Chisapani Storage as well as seven smaller ones, Upper Arun (335 MW), Lower Arun (308 MW), Sapta Gandaki (225 MW) on the Narayani river and four projects on the Dudhkoshi that range from 108 MW to 213 MW.

Another bested bidder, Larsen and Toubro, is also keen to enter Nepal’s hydropower sector and this time is eyeing seven projects together with Larsen and Toubro Power Development Corp.

These are Upper Arun (335 MW), Tila (471 MW), Karnali (187 MW), Ande Pipal Arun (1,200 MW), Chokan Lingam (520 MW) and Lunsun Pepuwa (300 MW).

The other big bidder is Bhilwara Energy, which wants to develop six power projects: Upper Trishuli 2A (229 MW), Karnali 7A (250 MW), Seti River Jal Vidyut Yojana (107 MW), Karnali 4 (166 MW), Humla Karnali 1 (244 MW) and Mugu Karnali 1 (194 MW).

Others who could be first time entrants in Nepal are Mumbai’s Patel Engineering that is eyeing three projects, including the ambitious 3,300 MW Saptakoshi Storage, Lanco Infratech, KSK Energy Venture, Athena Projects and Kasargod Power Corp.

Also in the fray are RVK Energy, Maytas Property, MMS Steel and Power and AES India that has teamed up with CG Energy Infrastructure.

The bids to obtain hydropower licences in Nepal get a boost from a recent Supreme Court verdict that struck down attempts by non-governmental organisations to block the entry of Australian company Snowy Mountain Engineering Corp.

Potential Indian investors got another shot in the arm from the new budget tabled by Maoist Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai last week that pledges to generate 10,000 MW of power in the next decade, encourage Indian investors, dispense with red tape and discourage non-serious bidders.

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