Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dristi watchdog on West Seti

March 21, 2012
Shambhu Shrestha
Editor and Publisher
Dristi Weekly

Shambhu jee

I have been subscribing to Dristi since a long time and have been reading it without missing an issue. Because, we are in agreement with regards to most of the issues. I fully agree with you that compared to previous incarnation of west seti, export oriented, the new incarnation (implementation entrusted to Three Gorges International Co. for consumption in Nepal) is in Nepal’s interest.

I have read your column yesterday in the last page of this week too, focused on mainly west seti with avid interest and I am impelled to make a few comments.

You have ascribed cancellation of previous incarnation of Arun III (201 MW) to the “infamous letter” penned by Madhav Nepal and you have gone on to blame him, the letter he wrote and cancellation of Arun III, for the load shedding that we are suffering from now. In my considered opinion, it is unfair to blame him for all this.

• When World Bank withdrew from Arun III in 1995, Nepal had 313.14 MW installed capacity in its system. If Arun III would have been built, total installed capacity would have reached 514.14 MW only. We now have about 700 MW and we are still grappling with load shedding and, therefore, it will be disingenuous to imagine that we would not have suffered from load shedding by having implemented Arun III.

• One can hypothetically say that if Arun III had been implemented we would have had 901 MW installed capacity. But installed capacity of this level would generate only about 300 MW in dry season and, therefore, even under this scenario the load shedding would have been inevitable as the dry season demand now is 1,056 MW.

• Moreover, Arun III and most of the new projects that got implemented after cancellation of Arun III are mutually exclusive. Meaning, with the cancellation of Arun III, ADB used money earmarked for it to build Kali Gandaki A (144 MW), similarly KfW financed to build Middle Marshyangdi (70 MW) with money it had earmarked for Arun III. Further, due to the covenant restricting Nepal from building projects bigger than 10 MW till Arun III is commissioned, World Bank would not have been able to finance Khimti (60 MW) and Bhote Koshi (36 MW) and NEA would not have been able to build both Modi (14.8 MW) and Chilime (22 MW). In sum, as Arun III got cancelled instead of 201 MW, Nepal succeeded to add 346 MW. Therefore, if Madhav Nepal is to get “credit” for the cancellation of Arun III, then because of his efforts Nepal succeeded to add 346 MW to the system instead of just 201 MW.

I have written an in-depth paper on this subject which you can refer to by clicking the link below:

You have correctly stated that they failed to sign Mahakali treaty in Nepal’s interest.

I again differ with your comment regarding upper Karnali. At the moment it has been conceived against Nepal’s interest and we need to restructure to ensure that Nepal is able to benefit from this project to the maximum extent possible. It is not a matter of who does invest and who doesn’t. It is a question as to how to ensure Nepal’s interest.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha, FCA
Senior Water Resource Analyst

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