Nepal decided on Sunday to let India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited build a second hydropower project in the nation. SJVN is currently developing a 900-MW Arun -III hydropower project on the Arun River in Eastern Nepal, with a completion date of 2024. According to an official statement, the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” approved the draft project development agreement (PDA) to be signed with India’s state-owned SJVN to develop the 669-megawatt (MW) Lower Arun Hydropower project in eastern Nepal.
The news comes only days before Prime Minister Prachanda’s visit to India, which begins on Wednesday. Before it can be implemented, the draft must be approved by the Council of Ministers. The previous meeting of the IBN approved an investment of Rs 92.68 billion for the project’s development. According to the IBN, “the development of this 669-MW transformative project will prove to be a milestone for the country’s socioeconomic development.” In Nepal, the SJVN has established a local firm called Lower Arun Power Development firm. The Lower Arun project, which will be located in the districts of Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur, will not have a reservoir or dam and will be a tailrace development of Arun-III, which means water will re-enter the river for the Lower Arun project. This is the third project undertaken, all through negotiation windows, on the Arun River after the 900 MW Arun-III and 695 MW Arun-IV hydroelectricity projects. The three projects will generate nearly 2,300 MW of electricity from the river in Sankhuwasabha district, The Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.