Saturday, January 31, 2015

Prudent Harnessing of Water Resources

Nepal is “famous” for being rich in water resources. However, water flows rarely from taps of urbanites, comprising 17% of total population (in 2011) and remaining 83% in rural areas don’t even have taps at household level. Electricity generated from water resources is also not available in adequate quantum; consequence: those with access to electricity (45% of the populace) suffer from severe load shedding and rest languish in load shedding 24/7. While hydrocrats can think of no other use of Nepal’s water resources but for generation of electricity (hydropower), that too for export.

Electricity generation
There isn’t sufficient electricity available even to meet current suppressed demand, as installed capacity in NEA system in fiscal year end was merely 787 MW while peak demand was 1,200 MW. Nepal actually needs about 6,000 MW currently to attain “normal” economic growth and double of that to attain accelerated economic growth; to create employment for those who have emigrated in pursuit of jobs, to increase production to displace import and to increase export (in order to improve both balance of trade and payment deficits), for electrification of transportation (to displace petroleum products) and also to displace LPG from kitchens (at the moment homemakers are suffering from severe shortage of LPG and electrification of kitchen will also break import dependency syndrome).

It is foolish to envisage exporting hydropower without meeting Nepal’s need to saturation level in the hope of receiving 10-12% free electricity. Firstly, it has been revealed that free energy that Nepal is to receive from Upper Karnali is to be exported. Secondly, the concept is bad carbon copy of Indian model – host state receiving some free energy and exporting the rest. Because, using electricity generated in any Indian state in another state results in industrialization of India, creating employment and increasing production with commensurate benefits. But same doesn’t apply in the case of Nepal, as industrialization of India, creating employment and increasing production with commensurate benefits in India doesn’t percolate into Nepal’s economy while benefit from industrialization in any part of India does percolate into Indian economy and all states stand to benefit simply because Nepal’s economy is independent of Indian economy (thank god).

Multi-dimensional uses of water
Hydrocrats haven’t appreciated that energy has many sources, but there is no alternative to water. Water is essential for drinking and sanitation, for irrigation (although there is plenty of saline water in the world – more than double of landmass – it cannot be used for irrigation), animal husbandry, etc. While energy can be generated from sources ranging from unclean/un-renewable like petroleum product, coal, etc. and clean/renewable sources like sun, moon, wind, biomass, animal (including human) excreta, besides water. Essentially water resource can be put to multi-dimensional uses but there is no alternative to water, mainly fresh water.

Restriction on consumptive use
With license granted for generation of electricity, the people in upper riparian areas would not be allowed to extract or divert water for consumptive purposes like drinking and sanitation, irrigation, animal husbandry, etc. and no water would be available for these purposes (including fishery) in dewatered area after its diversion for hydropower generation.

From the futuristic perspective, there will be restriction on production of hydrogen by electrolysis of water (when cost effective technology for storage and transportation of hydrogen becomes available, it will not remain futuristic anymore). There is huge potential for Nepal to benefit from hydrogen production and for Nepal to graduate into hydrogen economy.

It needs to be acknowledged that while conducting EIA or IEE current use of water in upstream and dewatered areas for irrigation is studied but irrigation in un-irrigated land isn’t taken into account. Similarly, no EIA or IEE so far has even visualized hydrogen economy. The problem lies in the present practice of working out installed capacity by looking at head and flow of water (minus extant demand for consumptive uses) and not contemplating future demand for consumptive uses (hydrogen economy isn’t even accounted for in such studies).

Competitive use of river
Similarly, recreation tends to be mutually exclusive with hydropower generation. Best example (actually worst) is Middle Bhote Koshi hydropower project with installed capacity of 102 MW. This project is sited at one of the world’s top 10 whitewater rafting sites (National Geographic has ranked it as 7th) and there is no other comparable site anywhere else in Nepal.

After this particular hydropower project is built, the rafting site will be completely destroyed. Nature has bestowed Nepal with this site and hydrocrats are hell-bent on destroying it. They are unmindful of the fact that if artificial rafting site needs to be built, it would cost a huge amount. An example is Lee Valley White Water Centre (previously known as Broxbourne White Water Canoe Centre) in London, which was constructed to host the canoe slalom events of the 2012 Summer Olympics, at the cost of $50 million equivalent to Rs 5 billion, one third of the cost of this project (Rs 14.5 billion).

Therefore, it will be prudent to build this project at around 70 MW installed capacity without having to sacrifice world’s 7th top whitewater rafting site. Unfortunately, even GoN (particularly Tourism Ministry) in general and tourism industry in particular (with some exception) doesn’t seem to be bothered about destruction of Nepal’s natural heritage. If one were to compute benefits to Nepal’s macro economy from rafting based tourism and cost of building similar rafting site elsewhere in Nepal and compare the figure with hydropower generation (hydropower projects can be built at millions of hydropower sites in over 6,000 rivers), Nepal gains more from saving the rafting site than mindlessly wrecking it by building hydropower project on that particular site, especially because just reducing its installed capacity can save the rafting site.

Complementary uses – irrigation and navigation
Certain use of river have complementarity like reservoir project not only generates electricity but the lean season augmented flow from it can help increase cropping intensity (one crop a year in rainy season versus more than 3 crops including in dry season) by irrigation which is important to achieve food security.

Similarly, with the construction of reservoir project navigation becomes possible in the reservoir as well as in the downstream area of the project. If Nepal builds Upper Karnali project as a reservoir project Nepal can have inland navigation in the reservoir in districts like Achham, Dailekh, Kalikot etc. and in Surkhet, Bardia and Kailali district in downstream of powerhouse. Moreover, Nepal can even have access to open seas through Ganga River in India and the latter too will similarly benefit from lean season augmented flow.

Comprehensive options assessment
From this perspective GoN needs to conduct comprehensive options assessment (COA) with regard to competing and mutually exclusive uses of water for purposes like drinking and sanitation, irrigation, animal husbandry and fishery, hydropower generation, recreation, industrial use, navigation and customary uses – identified by acronym DIFERINO, prior to deciding to allow use of any river for any purposes including hydropower generation.

To conclude, certain uses of river results in more benefits to the country’s macro economy than hydropower generation. Besides, people’s lives depend on river for water, food and energy. Under economics and econometrics no value of life can be assessed/attributed, for which water and food is of vital importance. If there is no life, then there is no meaning of hydropower generation. Therefore, under COA economic linkages (backward, forward, investment and fiscal linkages) needs to be analyzed/assessed and value of water and food for human life determined before deciding to put a site to a specific use.

Ratna Sansar Shrestha, FCA
Published in Spotlight Magazine of January 31, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

संचार माध्यम माथि "विदेशी शक्तिको कालो छायाँ"

अाइतबार, माघ ११ गतेको नागरिक दैनिकमा उक्त पत्रिकाका प्रधान सम्पादकले विदेशी शक्तिको कालो छायाँ शिर्षकमा लेख लेखेर बुद्धिजीविको ध्यान आकृष्ट गर्न मात्र सफल भएका छैनन्, अझ आतंकित नै पारेका छन् । तर नेपालमा विदेशी शक्तिको छायाँ नपरेको कहिल्यै छैन । साथै छायाँ भनेको कालै हुन्छ, चर्को उज्यालो भएमा छायाँ गाढा कालो हुन्छ भने अंध्यारोमा छायाँ देखिन्न ।

हेरि ल्याउँदा विदेशी शक्तिको छायाँमा नपरेको कुनै पनि मुलुक छैन । सर्वशक्तिमान संयुक्त राज्य अमेरिकाको अर्थतन्त्र समेत उदयिमान चीनको छायाँमा परेको छ भने अरुको कुरै गर्नु बेकार छ । तर यस्तो छायाँले हित गर्छ कि अहित भन्ने कुरा भने सम्बन्धित राज्यको सरकारमा निर्भर गर्छ । लम्पसार पर्ने खालको सरकार भएको अवस्थामा विदेशी शक्तिको छायाँले हित भन्दा धेरै अहित गर्छ र सिक्किमको सन्दर्भ जोड्दा लेन्डुप दोर्जेको लम्पसारवादी नीतिले गर्दा विश्व इतिहाँसमा सिक्किम भन्ने सार्वभौमसत्ता सम्पन्न राज्यको अस्तित्व नैं लोप हुन पुग्यो । तर नेपालमा यति हद सम्मको लम्पसारवादी नीति नभएकोले आजको मिति सम्म नेपाल एउटा सावैभौमसत्ता सम्पन्न स्वतन्त्र राष्ट्रको रुपमा विश्व मानचित्रमा अस्तित्व बांकि छ । भोली के हुन्छ भन्ने कुरा सरकार, सरकार संचालन गर्ने राजनैतिक दलहरुमा निर्भर छ ।

यसो भन्दैमा विदेशी शक्तिको कालो छायाँले अहित गरेकै छैन भन्न मिल्दैन । यो कुराको पुष्ठीको लागि नेपालको जलश्रोत क्षेत्र मात्र हेरे पुग्छ । कोशी, गण्डकी, महाकाली हुंदै हालै सरकारले कर्णाली नदीमा पनि राष्ट्रघात गरिसकेको छ । नेपालको सार्वभौम अधिकार निहित नदीबाट उत्पादित बिजुली नेपाली जनतालाई बंचित पारेर निकासी गर्ने व्यवस्था मात्र नगरेर माथिल्लो कर्णाली आयोजना निर्माण गर्न ५०/६० अर्ब रुपैया लाग्नेमा नगद अनुदान र कर दैदस्तूर छूट मात्रै साढे ७६ अर्ब रुपैया प्रबर्द्धकलाई दिने तारतम्य मिल्ने गरेर अयोजना विकास सम्झौता सम्पन्न भै सकेको छ । अर्को तिर प्रबर्द्धकले आयोजनाको लागत नैं १ सय ४० अर्ब रुपैंया लाग्ने हिसाब देखाएर ८०/९० अर्ब रुपैया गबन गर्ने व्यवस्था गरिसकेको छ । यसरी उक्त आयोजना निर्माण गर्दा नैं प्रबर्द्धकले १ सय ५६ देखि १ सय ६६ अर्ब रुपैंया लाभ लिने भैसकेको छ । यति रकममा उक्त आयोजना जस्ता २ वटा आयोजना निर्माण गर्न पुग्थ्यो ।

समग्रमा के हुने भयाे भने जीएमअारले िबना लगािन मात्र हाेइन उल्टाे झण्डै २ खर्ब रुपैया अायाेजना िनर्माणकाे क्रममा नैं हस्तगत गर्छ र अायाेजनाकाे स्वािमत्व पनि हािसल गरेर २५ वर्ष सम्म नाफा पनि कमाउंछ । कस्ताे राम्राेसंग नेपालकाे स्वार्थ सम्बर्धन गरेकाे !

तर अधिकांश संचार माध्यम माैन बसेर याे अपराधकाे मतियार भएकाे छ र

यो उदाहरणले पनि नेपालको सार्वभौमसत्तामा ह्रास आएको इंगित गर्छ ।

तर यस सन्दर्भमा संचार माध्यमको भूमिका पनि कम महत्वपूर्ण छैन । वर्तमानमा अधिकांश संचार माध्यम पनि विदेशी शक्तिको कालो छायाँमा संचालित छन् । सुनिन्छ, कतिपय संचार माध्यमले विदेशी शक्तिबाट हण्डी नैं प्राप्त गर्छन । िबज्ञापनले पनि हण्डीकाे काम गर्ने स्मरणिय छ ।

नेपाल भ्रष्टाचार धेरै हुने मुलुकमा पर्छ तर कम भ्रष्टाचार हुने मुलुकमा पनि राजनीितकर्मीले भ्रष्टाचार गर्ने गर्छन् । तर संचार माध्यमले अन्तःस्करणकाे काम गर्छ । अमेिरकि राष्ट्रपति िनक्सनकाे संचार माध्यमकाे सजगताले गर्दा पतन भएकाे ज्वलन्त उदाहरण छ ।

मूल कुरा के हो भने संचार माध्यमले देशको अन्तःस्करणको काम गर्नुपर्छ र सरकारको कमिकमजोरी निडर निर्भिक भएर औंल्याउनु पर्छ । तर अपवाद वाहेक अधिकांश संचार माध्यमले, उदाहरणार्थ माथिल्लो कर्णाली आयोजनामा भए गरिएको धाँधली बारे कुरा नैं उल्लेख गर्दैनन्, लेख लेखेर पठाए पनि छाप्दैनन् । बरु यस्तो धाँधलीको खुलासा गर्नेलाई संचार माध्यमले विकास बिरोधीको बिल्ला भिराउन र खलनायक नामकरण गर्न पछि पर्दैनन् । साथै के पनि सुन्नमा आएको छ भने उक्त आयोजनाको प्रबर्द्धकले कतिपय संचार माध्यमलाई प्रत्यक्ष वा परोक्षरुपमा हण्डी बितरण गरेकोले यस सम्बन्धमा मौन धारण गरेको हो ।

र, जब अन्तःस्करणले आफ्नो काम गर्दैन तब त्यो व्यक्ति वा राष्ट्रको भविष्य समाप्त हुन्छ । त्यसकारण संचार माध्यमले पनि आफ्नो कर्तव्यपथबाट बिमुख नहुने हो भने मात्र जत्तिसुकै गाढा कालो छायाँ भए पनि राष्ट्र सार्वभौमसत्ता सम्पन्न तथा स्वतंत्र रहन्छ, नत्र खैरियत छैन । यस्ताेमा संचार माध्यमले राजनीतिकर्मीकाे अालाेचना गरेर पण्डित्याइं छांट्दा पानी मुिन अाेभानाे उक्ति मात्र चरितार्थ हुन्छ ।

Friday, January 23, 2015

“Export” of National Interest in Upper Karnali

In the wake of signing of project development agreement (PDA) for Upper Karnali Project (UKP) with GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Limited (the entity incorporated in Nepal by GMR), PM Sushil Koirala, in an interview given to an English newspaper recently said, “Do not take me as one of the Koiralas who sold our rivers” and went on to assert that “I will not let anti-national act to take place in the country.” From this it becomes clear that he thinks pervious Koirala PMs committed anti-national act and is determined not to commit any anti-national act.

However, the PDA was signed notwithstanding raging protest against it, also while the matter was sub judice in Supreme Court, impelling “Civil Society Alliance for Rational Water Resources Development in Nepal” to send open letters to respective prime ministers of Nepal and India. Therefore, the PDA warrants an assessment with respect to whether any anti-national act was committed.

No mitigation of load shedding
One of the justifications trotted out by those in favor of PDA for UPK was that Nepal’s load shedding will be mitigated with commissioning of UKP as Nepal is slated to receive 12% free energy. While those opposing it, opined that free energy amounts to just meagre 18 MW in dry season and also pointed out that the full potential of the site (Karnali Bend) shouldn’t be killed, which is 4,180 MW reservoir, generating 4 times more electricity (actually helping Nepal achieve energy security). Reservoir project also would have ensured water and food security by generating lean season augmented flow of 500 m3/s.

In this backdrop it is surprising that PDA has a provision for export of free electricity in clause 10(14A) and GoN has to pay “transmission tariff” to GMR for the purpose. Under clause 11.15.4 GMR has been reposed with the responsibility to take care of export for which it would be paid trading commission, too. While there is no provision to use free electricity to mitigate Nepal’s load shedding, nor is there any provision to evacuate free electricity inside Nepal.

In view of this it is clear that even free electricity is to be exported which is tantamount to “exporting” national interest. Because the very foundation of justification for signing PDA was to use free electricity to mitigate Nepal’s load shedding problem.

Hence, anti-national act has taken place in 3 ways: (1) killing full potential of the site, thus depriving people from energy security, (2) depriving people of the region from water and food security (possible by multiple cropping with lean season augmented flow from reservoir) and (3) exporting free electricity against GoN’s assurance. This is a clear case of adding insult to injury in more than one way.

The PDA is detrimental to Nepal’s interest in following ways also.

Subsidy and exemption of tax and duties
There is provision for various financial/fiscal facilities to GMR in clause 9(2). GMR is entitled to cash subsidy of Rs 5 million/MW (totaling Rs 4.5 billion) for having paid VAT to GoN, although under Nepal law such subsidy is to be provided only to projects that connect to national grid to meet Nepal’s internal demand. This amounts to subsidizing Indian consumers. It is strange that Nepal, a poorer neighbor and a recipient of largesse from India, is reciprocating as such.
Further, GMR is entitled to 50% discount on custom duty on import of cement, iron and steel products (estimated amount: Rs 4.5 billion). This facility isn’t afforded to projects built to meet Nepal’s internal demand.

Similarly, GMR is exempt from paying custom duty (except for 1%) and VAT on import of plant, equipment and machinery (estimated amount: Rs 17.5 billion) under Electricity Act. Moreover, there is provision for income tax holiday for 10 years (estimated amount: Rs 40 billion @ Rs 4 billion/year) and 50% discount on income tax for next 5 years (Rs 10 billion @ Rs 2 billion/year) in accordance to Nepal law.

The sum total of subsidy and exemptions is Rs 76.5 billion. Nepal’s macro economy suffers in two ways due to these. One, cost of construction and, therefore, cost of energy generated also gets reduced, but Nepali people don’t get to use such low cost electricity. Two, Nepal’s treasury has to bear such a huge amount. A clear case of double whammy.

Providing such facility to projects for internal consumption is logical. Because, although GoN treasury suffers, populace benefit. In this instance GoN bears the impact of such facilities without general public benefiting (it could have been justified if Nepal was a part of India, which, thankfully, isn’t the case).

Gift of 900 MW project to India
Furthermore, the project site is the most attractive site of world (not just amongst the sites in Nepal) as there is natural dam of 140 meters (no investment required to build a dam of this height) by digging a tunnel of less than 2 km. Therefore; actual project cost is Rs 50/60 billion only according to knowledgeable people. Hence, instead of showering such largesse to GMR (through it to India) GoN could have easily implemented the project from its own sources (using fund involved in subsidy and tax exemptions).

In other words, in the name of attracting foreign investment, GoN has committed to provide subsidy and exemptions amounting to more than actual project cost. By doing so, GoN has essentially gifted UKP free of cost to India without taking any credit for it against Indian practice of publicizing worldwide, with fanfare, every time it provides a few million to Nepal.

Additional electricity generation
If any reservoir project/s is/are built in upstream of this project, its electricity generation will not only increase but its firm energy (which fetches higher tariff) generation also will increase by a magnitude. According to clause 6.1.1(D), GoN is entitled to only half of incremental generation. As Nepal will have to suffer from inundation and displacement by building storage project, she is entitled to not only all incremental generation but she deserves the incremental revenue from enhancement of firm energy as well. Therefore, this provision is another component of PDA, which is against Nepal’s national interest.

Selection of contractor/supplier
There is provision for awarding construction and supply contract in clause 11(34) without transparent and competitive bidding. The likely intention of this provision is to siphon off about Rs 80 to Rs 90 billion out of inflated cost of Rs 140 billion (as mentioned above the actual cost is about Rs 50 to 60 billion only) in collusion with contractors/suppliers. This is how anti-national act isn’t committed!

Revenue from carbon trading
Carbon offset results by exporting electricity from this project, which can be internationally traded. There is provision for sharing of revenue from carbon trading between GoN and GMR in clause 11(37) of PDA. As Nepal exports electricity depriving Nepal’s economy from its use, Nepal deserves the revenue generated by trading carbon offset. This is sacrifice of another source of revenue to GoN.

Force majeure
According to international practice none of the contracting parties are liable in the case of force majeure condition. But GoN is liable to compensate GMR for delays due to force majeure under clause 12.5.8 of PDA. In this way Nepal will have to bear additional financial liability when things are beyond its control. This provision too is obviously detrimental to Nepal.

Change in law
Nepali people are citizens of this country and are subject to all laws under the constitution of Nepal. Similarly, the company incorporated to implement UKP, which is a corporate citizen of Nepal, too is subject Nepal law with respect to all rights and duties, except for political right to cast vote. But under clause 12A of PDA, GMR will not be liable to any additional tax liability imposed by change in law. This amounts to preferential treatment of GMR to the discrimination of citizenry of Nepal (against the very principle of fundamental right to equality) and, hence, anti-national.

GoN to bear project expense
There is provision for constituting a project review panel (PRP) in clause 5 of PDA and under clause 5.5 costs related to PRP is to be borne equally by GoN and GMR. As this is purely a project related expenditure, there is no justification for GoN to share it and thereby enrich GMR; further burden on GoN treasury. Because since GMR wouldn’t share profit with GoN why should GoN share cost?

Facilitation fee to IBN
Under clause 11.28 GMR has to pay IBN $ 15,000 per quarter, totaling $ 60,000 per annum. PDA has made provision to benefit GMR in every way possible by billions of dollars. But charging GMR such a petty amount doesn’t make sense. Is ths how national interest is ensured?

PM’s claim re anti-national act
From the above it is clear that there are many provisions in the PDA, which are detrimental to Nepal. But PM Koirala insists that he has not done anything against Nepal’s interest. Killing potential capacity of the site of 4,000 MW itself constitutes treason and colluding with GMR to further bilk Nepal’s treasury in various pretence is absolute betrayal of our motherland.

Ratna Sansar Shrestha

Published in People's Review Weekly on 22nd January 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

निशुल्क बिजुलीमैं पनि राष्ट्रघात

निकासीमूलक माथिल्लो कर्णाली आयोजनाका प्रबर्द्धक जीएआरलाई निर्माण गर्न दिनुपर्छ भन्ने देखि वर्तमान अवधारणामा हुन्न भन्ने बिबाद हुंदाहुंदै नेपाल सरकारले प्रबर्द्धकसंग आयोजना विकास सम्झौता (पीडीए) सम्पन्न गरेर भारतलाई खुशी पार्ने कोशिश गरेको देखिन्छ । सर्बोच्च अदालतमा पनि यस सम्बन्धमा एक भन्दा बढी रिट निवेदनहरु बिचाराधीन छन् भने नागरिक समाजका केहि अगुवाहरुले नेपाल तथा भारतका प्रधानमन्त्रीहरुलाई यो पीडीएले गर्दा नेपाल भारत दुबैलाई घाटा पर्ने सम्बन्धमा खुल्लापत्र लेखेका छन् ।

तर आयोजनाको पीडीएमा हस्ताक्षर हुंदा व्यक्तिगतरुपमा उपस्थित रहेका प्रधानमन्त्री कोइरालाले बिगतमा मातृका, विश्वेश्वर तथा गिरिजा लगायतका तीन कोइराला प्रधानमन्त्रीहरुले नदी बेचे झैं आफूले राष्ट्रघात नगरेको दाबी गरेकाछन् । यस परिप्रेक्ष्यमा पीडीएका व्यवस्थाहरुको बिबेचना गर्न वान्छनिय हुन्छ ।

लोडसेडिंग निराकरण नहुने
वर्तमान अवधारणालाई गलत भन्नेहरु यो आयोजनास्थल (कर्णाली घुम्ती)मा जडित क्षमता ९ सय मेगावाट होइन ४ हजार १ सय ८० मेगावाटको पूर्ण क्षमतामा निर्माण गरेर ४ गुणा बढी बिजुली मात्र उत्पादन नगरेर जलाशयमा वर्षातको पानी संचित गरेर सुक्खायाममा खानेपानी, सिंचाई आदिको लागि उपलब्ध गरिनुपर्छ भन्ने धारणा राख्छन् र पूर्ण क्षमतामा निर्माण गरिंदा नेपाल सरकारलाई रोयल्टी समेत ४ गुणा बढी प्राप्त हुने कुरा आंैल्याउंछन् ।

कुनै पनि हालतमा बनाइनु पर्छ भन्नेहरु १२ प्रतिशत भएपनि निशुल्क प्राप्त हुने बिजुलीले नेपालको बिद्यमान लोडसेडिंगको समस्या केहि हद सम्म भएपनि निराकरण हुने तर्क गर्छन्, बिमति राख्नेहरुलाई विकास बिरोधी बिल्ला भिराएर । यस सम्बन्धमा वर्षातमा १ सय ८ मेगावाट निशुल्क प्राप्त भएपनि सुक्खायाममा १८ मेगावाट मात्र प्राप्त हुने हुनाले लोडसेडिंगको समस्या तात्विकरुपमा निराकरण नहुने कुरा पनि औंल्याइएका थिए ।

तर प्रबर्द्धकसंग भएको आयोजना विकास सम्झौता (पीडीए)को दफा १०(१४क) मा नेपाल सरकारलाई प्राप्त हुने निशुल्क बिजुली भारत निकासी गर्ने व्यवस्था छ, त्यो पनि प्रशारण शुल्क तिरेर । साथै दफा ११.१५.४ मा निकासी गर्ने जिम्मा प्रबर्द्धकलाई नैं दिने र सो बापत दलाली शुल्क तिर्ने व्यवस्था छ । त्यस्तै भारत निकासी गर्नको लागि प्रशारण संजालको व्यवस्था छ । अर्को तर्फ यसरी निशुल्क प्राप्त हुने बिजुली नेपालको कुन आन्तरिक बजारमा के कसरी उपलब्ध गरिनेछ भन्ने सम्बन्धमा पूर्णतः मौन छ र नेपालमा आपूर्तिको लागि प्रशारण संजालको व्यवस्था पनि छैन ।

त्यसकारण निशुल्क बिजुली निकासी नैं गरिने स्पष्टिन्छ र यो आयोजना निर्माण भएर नेपालको लोडसेडिंग निराकरणमा हुंदैन । यसले गर्दा घाउमा नुनचूक दलेको चरितार्थ हुनेछ र तेहोरो रुपमा राष्ट्रघात भएकोछः (१) ४ हजार मेगावाट भन्दा बढी बिद्युत उत्पादन क्षमता भएको आयोजनास्थललाई ९ सयमा सीमित गरेकोले, (२) सुक्खायाममा थप पानी उत्पादन गरेर उर्जा सुरक्षाको अलावा जल सुरक्षा तथा खाद्य सुरक्षा पनि हासिल गर्ने सम्भावनाबाट त्यस भेगका जनतालाई बंचित गरेकोले र (३) थोरै भए पनि निशुल्क प्राप्त हुने बिजुली पनि भारत निकासी गर्ने भएकोले ।

आश्चर्यजनक के छ भने पीडीएमा माथि उल्लिखित तेहोरो बाहेक अन्य तरिकाबाट पनि राष्ट्रलाई घाटा पार्ने काम भएको रहेछ, जुन निम्न प्रकरणहरुमा विश्लेषण गरिएकोछ ।

कर दैदस्तूर छूट तथा अनुदान
पीडीएको दफा ९(२) मा बिभिन्न प्रकारका वित्तिय सहुलियतहरुको व्यवस्था गरिएकोछ । जस मध्ये पहिलो हो राज्यलाई सिमन्टी जस्ता सामग्रीमा मूल्य अभिबृद्धि कर तिरे बापत प्रति मेगावाट ५० लाख रुपैया को दरले जम्मा साढे ४ अर्ब रुपैंया अनुदान । यस्तो अनुदान राष्ट्रिय प्रशारण संजालमा जोडेर नेपालको आन्तरिक मांग पूर्ति गर्ने प्रबर्द्धकलाई मात्र दिने कानूनी व्यवस्था छ । त्यस्तै सिमन्टी, छड आयात गर्दा लाग्ने भंसार महशूल पनि ५० प्रतिशत छूट दिइनेछ, जुन सुविधा नेपालको आन्तरिक खपतको लागि निर्माण हुने आयोजनाहरुलाई छैन । यो सुविधाले राज्य माथि अन्दाजि साढे ४ अर्ब रुपंैया थप भार पर्छ ।

यस अतिरिक्त यो आयोजनाले बिद्यमान कानूनमा व्यवस्था भए अनुरुप मेशिनरी उपकरण आदि पैठारी गर्दा पनि भंसार महशूल र मूल्य अभिबृद्धि कर छूट पाउनेछ, जुन अंदाजि साढे १७ अर्ब रुपैंया हुनेछ । त्यस्तै पहिलो १५ वर्ष शतप्रतिशत आयकर छूट पाउने हुनाले वार्षिक ४ अर्ब रुपैंयाको दरले आयकर छूट पाएर १० वर्षमा ४० अर्ब रुपैया र त्यस पछिको ५ वर्ष ५० प्रतिशत आयकर छूट पाएर वार्षिक २ अर्ब रुपैंयाको दरले १० अर्ब रुपैंया राज्यको कोषले गुमाउनेछ ।

यसरी नगद अनुदान तथा कर दैदस्तूर छूट समेत गरेर आयोजना प्रबर्द्धकले साढे ७६ अर्ब रुपैंयाले लाभान्वित हुनेछ । यस्तो सुविधाको कारणले राष्ट्रलाई दोहोरो घाटा हुन्छः अनुदान तथा सहुलियतको कारणले आयोजनाको उत्पादन लागत कम भएर उत्पादित बिजुली सस्तो पर्छ तर सस्तो बिजुलीबाट नेपाली उपभोक्ता बंचित हुनाको अलावा राज्यको कोषमा अनावश्यक भार पर्नाले ।

यो आयोजना विश्वकैं (नेपालमा सम्भाब्य लाखौं आयोजनाहरुमध्ये मात्र होइन) आकर्षक आयोजना भएकोले यसको निर्माण लागत ५० देखि ६० अर्ब रुपैंया मात्र लाग्छ र प्रबर्द्धकलाई राज्यले दिएको नगद अनुदान तथा कर दैदस्तूर छूटबाट मात्रै यो आयोजना सजिलै निर्माण गर्न सकिन्छ ।

अर्थात बिदेशी लगानि आकृष्ट गर्ने नाममा यो आयोजना निर्माण गर्न पुग्ने भन्दा बढी नगद अनुदान तथा कर दैदस्तूर छूट दिएर पनि राष्ट्रलाई घाटा पु¥याउने काम भएकोछ, राष्ट्रघात भएकोछ । यसबाट राज्यले नैं आवश्यक रकम परिचालन गरेर यो आयोजना निर्माण गर्न सक्ने देखिन्छ र यसको बिजुली नेपालको द्रुत आर्थिक विकासको लागि उपयोग गर्न सक्नेमा बिदेशी प्रबर्द्धकलाई पृष्ठपोषण गरेर तथा नेपालकै लागि अत्यावश्यक बिजुली भारत निकासी गर्ने व्यवस्था गरेर राष्ट्रघात गरिएकोछ ।

थप बिजुली उत्पादन
यो आयोजनाको माथिल्लो तटीय इलाकामा जलाशययुक्त आयोजना निर्माण भएमा यो आयोजनाबाट थप बिजुली उत्पादन मात्र हुन सक्ने होइन सुनिश्चित बिजुली (फर्म इनर्जि) उत्पादन पनि धेरै गुणाले बढ्नेछ । पीडीएको दफा ६.१.१(घ)मा यस्तो थप उत्पादित बिजुलीमा प्रबर्द्धकको पनि आधा हक लाग्ने व्यवस्था गरिएको छ, जुन राष्ट्रघाती काम हो । प्रबर्द्धकको टर्बाइन बढी समय चल्ने भएर बढी खिइने हद सम्मको रकम मात्र दिइनुपथ्र्यो । नेपालले डुबान र बिस्थापन भोगेर वर्षातको पानी संचित गरेर सुक्खायाममा थप पानी उपलब्ध गरिएर उत्पादन हुने बिजुली माथिको सम्पूर्ण हक नेपाल सरकारको हुनुपर्ने मात्र नभएर बढी मूल्यमा बिक्री हुने सुनिश्चित बिजुली थप उत्पादन भएको कारणले अभिबृद्धि हुने राजश्वमा पनि नेपालको हक लाग्छ । यस बिपरित थप उत्पादित बिजुलीको आधामा मात्र नेपालको हक लाग्ने व्यवस्था राष्ट्रलाई थप घाटा पार्ने षडयन्त्र हो ।

ठेकेदारको नियुक्ति
पीडीएको दफा ११(३४) मा प्रतिश्पर्धा तथा पारदर्शिता बिना ठेकदार नियुक्ति गर्ने व्यवस्था छ । यसको लागत ५० देखि ६० अर्ब रुपैंया मात्र लाग्नुपर्नेमा १ सय ४० अर्ब रुपैया लाग्ने घोषणा गरिसकेको परिप्रेक्ष्यमा बिना प्रतिश्पर्धा र पारदर्शिता ठेकेदार नियुक्ति गरेर, ठेकेदारसंग मिलेर ८० देखि ९० अर्ब रुपैंया बांडचुंडी लिने तयारी गरेको देखिन्छ ।

कार्बन ब्यापारबाट आय
यो आयोजनाबाट उत्पादित बिजुली भारत निकासी गर्दा कार्बनडाइअक्साइड वायू उत्सर्जन बिस्थापित हुन्छ, जुन बिक्री गरेर आय आर्जन गर्न सकिन्छ । पीडीएको दफा ११(३७) मा यसरी आर्जन भएको आय नेपाल सरकार र प्रबर्द्धकले बांड्ने व्यवस्था छ । नेपालले आफ्नो मुलुकमा उपयोग नगरेर भारत निकासी गर्दा हुने यस्तो आयमा नेपालको पूर्ण हक लाग्नेमा प्रबर्द्धकसंग बाँड्ने व्यवस्था राखेर पनि राष्ट्रघात गरिएकोछ ।

काबू बाहिरको परिस्थिति
अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय परिपाटी अनुसार काबू बाहिरको परिस्थितिको कारणले कुनै पनि पक्षले नोक्सानि व्यहोरेमा अर्को पक्ष जिम्मेवार नहुने प्रचलन छ । तर यो आयोजनाको पीडीएको दफा १२.५.८ मा काबू बाहिरको कारणले प्रबर्द्धकले नोक्सानि व्यहोरेको खण्डमा नेपाल सरकारले प्रबर्द्धकलाई क्षतिपूर्ति दिनुपर्ने व्यवस्था गरेर पनि राष्ट्रलाई घाटा पार्ने प्रपञ्च मिलाएकोछ ।

कानून परिवर्तनबाट उन्मुक्ति
नेपाली जनता नेपालको नागरिक भए झैं प्रबर्द्धक संस्था नेपाल राज्यमा दर्ता भएपछि नेपालको संस्थागत नागरिक बन्दछ, जसलाई मतदान गर्ने राजनैतिक अधिकार बाहेक अन्य सम्पूर्ण अधिकार तथा कर्तव्य हुन्छ । संबैधानिक व्यवस्था अनुसार कानून परिवर्तन भएर थप कर दैदस्तूर लाग्ने भएमा नेपाली नागरिकले उन्मुक्ति पाउंदैन । तर पीडीएको दफा १२क मा कानूनमा परिवर्तन भएर कर दैदस्तूरको दायित्व बृद्धि भएपनि प्रबर्द्धकले यस्तो थप दायित्वबाट उन्मुक्ति पाउने व्यवस्था गरेको पनि राष्ट्र हितमा छैन र सामान्य नागरिक प्रति बिभेद हुने गरेर यो व्यवस्थाले संबिधानले प्रत्याभूत गरको समानताको हकबाट सामान्य नागरिकलाई बंचित गरिएकोछ ।

आयोजनाको खर्च राज्यले बेहोर्ने
पीडीएमा आयोजना पुनरावलोकन कार्यदलको व्यवस्था छ र यस्तो कार्यदलको खर्च आयोजनाकै खर्च मानिने अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय मान्यता छ । तर दफा ५(५) मा यस्तो कार्यदलको खर्च नेपाल सरकारले पनि आधा ब्यहोर्ने ब्यवस्था छ, जुन युक्तिसंगत छैन । आयोजना प्रबर्द्धकले नाफा भने एकलौटी गर्ने तर आयोजना सम्बन्धी खर्च भने नेपाल सरकारले आधा ब्यहोर्नाले पनि राज्यलाई थप घाटा पर्नेछ ।

लगानि बोर्डलाई सहजिकरण शुल्क
पीडीएको दफा ११(२८) मा लगानि बोर्डलाई वार्षिक ६० लाख रुपैंया सहजिकरण शुल्क प्रबर्द्धकले भुक्तानि गर्ने व्यवस्था गरिएकोछ । नेपाल सरकाले प्रत्यक्ष तथा परोक्षरुपमा प्रबद्र्धकलाई झण्डैे १ खर्ब रुपैया भन्दा बढीले लाभान्वित गर्ने अनि लगानि बोर्डले यति थोरै रकममा दांत गाड्नु भनेको सबै छाडी टपरी मुनि हात भन्ने उक्ति चरितार्थ हुन्छ ।

राष्ट्रघात नगरेको प्रधानमन्त्रीको दाबी
माथि उल्लेख गरिए झैं धेरै किसिमले राष्ट्रलाई घाटा हुने काम गरेर पनि राष्ट्रघात गरेको छैन भनेर पानीमुनि ओभानो छुं भन्दैमा जनताले पत्याउने अवस्था छैन । ४ हजार मेगावाट भन्दा बढी क्षमताको आयोजनास्थललाई ९ सय मेगावाटमा सीमित गरेर मात्र राष्ट्रघात गरेको नभएर पीडीए गर्दा पनि नेपाली जनता, नेपालको अर्थतन्त्र तथा नेपालको प्राकृतिक श्रोतको शोषण धेरै तरिकाले गरेको प्रष्टिन्छ ।
Ratna Sansar Shrestha
२०७१ माघ ८ गते अन्नपूर्णा पोष्टमा प्रकाशित

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Did PM Koirala say that 3 previous Koirala PMs committed anti national act?

PM’s Koirala, giving an interview to Telegraph Nepal, has said that “Do not take me as one of the Koiralas who sold our rivers”. He went on to add that “I will not let antinational act to take place in the country”

His statement is hollow at best” and that is exactly what he has done.

First of all, it is astounding to hear a statement from him implying that Koirala brothers indeed “sold” Nepal’s rivers. It is surprising as it is coming from a Koirala brother himself. People firmly do believe that Matrika, BP and GP Koirala respectively did “sell” Koshi, Gandaki and Mahakali rivers and he is just corroborating that. I wonder if his brothers would turn in their respective graves in discomfort, if they were to "read" this statement.

His assertion that “I will not commit a treachery” stands contradicted by his own actions. He was instrumental in, among others, signing PDA for upper Karnali project as a RoR project with just 900 MW as installed capacity. The full potential of the site is 4,180 MW according to study conducted with World Bank loan. This is comparable to selling diamond as coal, both of which are based in carbon and found in mines. Therefore, this itself amounts to treason on his part.

The PDA also amounts to sell out of national interest as the site, if developed at full potential, would have resulted in generation of lean season augmented flow of water by 500 m3/s, which can irrigate up to 1.5 million hectares of agricultural land in lower riparian areas. This project not only would have generated 4 times more electricity but the lean season augmented flow would have ensured water security, food security and energy security. This is a clear case of betrayal of interest of our motherland, compounding his treachery.

What has come as adding insult to injury is the fact that PDA has provision in Section 10.14A for export of 12% free energy that Nepal is to be given. One of the justifications of concluding the PDA in great hurry was the possibility of receiving free energy and mitigation of load shedding partly with that energy. If 88% is exported by GMR and 12% exported by GoN, nothing will be left to reduce Nepal’s load shedding. It is clearly detrimental to Nepal’s interest.

In this backdrop his “assurance” not only has no substance but in effect he has given continuity to what 3 previous Koirala PMs did – “sell” Karnali River, which is the only river that hadn’t been “sold” off to India by his 3 previous Koirala PMs.