Clock Nepal, Kathmandu
The government in 2009 announced that the 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project would be constructed at a cheaper cost recorded till then. A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Company Limited held on March 20, 2009 decided to move ahead with the project with a plan to complete it within five years at the cost of Rs 48 billion including interest.
But things didn’t work out as planned. Construction period was extended time and again. Bank interest rates, the US dollar exchange rate and inflation continued to rise. The initial estimated cost of Rs 35.29 billion started growing. When the project was six years behind schedule, an additional expenditure of Rs 17 billion was added to the project cost.
The interest rate for the five-year construction period was estimated to cost Rs 14 billion. The construction period of the project and the increase in the exchange rate of US dollar alone added Rs 18 billion in interest. The cost per megawatt was estimated to be Rs 100 million 13 years ago but it has come to Rs 180 million now.
Former Secretary and former Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority Arjun Kumar Karki said that the time, cost and return of other projects like Tamakoshi were lost as the project that was developed with domestic investment was not completed on time. “While building it, we have lost time and income to build another project like this,” he said. “Had it been completed six years ago, we could have constructed another project with a similar power generation capacity. But we lost that golden opportunity.”