Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Re: My article in Spotlight on Upper karnali

March 9, 2010
Mr Bihari Krishna Shrestha

Dear Biharijee

The problem related to granting a license for 300 MW only for a site with optimum capacity of 4,180 MW can be explained "away" in two parts

One, people in DoED act rather mechanically on the basis of application received. There are many more licenses issued at the installed capacity as "demanded" by the applicant instead of issuing at its optimum capacity. Someone with some time on hand can easily unearth these. In the case of upper Karnali, they didn't even refer to a study conducted with World Bank funding for NEA where it is categorically mentioned that developing the site at 300 MW is mutually exclusive of 4,180 MW. You must be aware that the applicant is required to pay some "fees" based on the installed capacity applied for. Hence, the lower the capacity, the lesser amount the applicant has to shell out. This is one form of treason. Nepal's best interest will be served by ensuring optimum exploitation of water resource projects (not just hydropower project) for the betterment of Nepal and Nepali people.

Development of the site as a run-of-the-river project (whether at 300 MW or at 900 MW as the energy minister is going about claiming) manifests "high" treason as Nepal will be deprived of multidimensional uses of water from this particular site. If developed as a multipurpose project at full capacity, it will not only generate high value electricity (peak-in power, instead) but Nepal stands to benefit from increase in cropping intensity etc. I have already quantified the loss to the nation due to this mistake.

The high treason has another facet too. India as a lower riparian country would never be happy if a upper riparian country was to use Karnali water for its own consumptive uses, simply because, it will reduce downstream flow. However, under international law and also under the principles established in, much condemned, Koshi and Gandak treaties, Nepal, as a sovereign country, has every right to use water from a river flowing in its territory. India too, following this very principle, has built Farakka barrage to the detriment of Bangladesh. However, our consumptive use of Karnali water will not adversely impact by the magnitude of Farakka barrage. Indian developers, therefore, have applied for licenses with this in mind, which is natural for an Indian citizen, corporate or otherwise, to ensure Indian national interest. Conversely, Nepali officials should have taken this into account and ensured that the license is granted such that Nepal could benefit from multidimensional use of water.

Moreover, by the time this project will be built Nepal will need all the power (high quality), with the project developed at its full potential. But Nepali bureaucracy has failed Nepal, for their neglect of Nepal's power need and agreeing to dedicate it as an export oriented project.

You are, unfortunately, right about UCPNM (I have used the word unfortunately in the context of the way they work), too. As I have pointed out in my article, I have been involved in crying out aloud about this project that the "emperor is naked" since some time back . I am also involved with the writ petition pending with Supreme Court since the beginning (as a legal practitioner, I did appear for a hearing). However, the topic became heated only now, which prompted me to write this article. The article, in turn, is the output of a paper that I was asked to present in a program organized with the involvement of UCPNM. Essentially, you are right in the sense that they have jumped into the bandwagon only recently and I have, in my articles, warned UCPNM, not to use this project for their political expediency. I wonder if they will listen (when I said so during my presentation, Mohan Vaidya Kiran did nod his head gravely, though).

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: bihari [mailto:bks@wlink.com.np]
Sent: Monday, March 8, 2010 16:46
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: My article in Spotlight on Upper karnali

Dear Ratnajee,

It should be further revealing for non-esoteric audience like me if you could shed light on how a project site with a potential capacity of 4,180 MW could be subjected to a design for only 300 MW, in other words, what was the anatomy of "the high treason"?

Regarding UCPNM, given their expertise in ... people only, their initial objectiion to Upper Karnali was not based on this discrepancy between the design and potential cpacities of the site. Their activities were only designed to disrupt the contractors' works and bring disrepute to the government. If they have taken up the cause as you have propounded it, then, salute to you, your writings on the subject has been doubly beneficial to the country, including putting some intellect into the head of the murderers.

Warm regards

----- Original Message -----
From: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Sent: Monday, March 08, 2010 6:42 AM
Subject: FW: My article in Spotlight on Upper karnali

Upper Karnali Uproar!

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