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Arun-III hydropower project in Nepal put on fast-track

Monday, 17 Aug 2020
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The construction of Arun-III hydropower project in Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal has been put on fast-track as five Indian banks and two Nepali banks have committed to lend debts for construction of the 900 MW power project. 
 
In February 2020, Nabil Bank, which is one of the lenders for the project from Nepali side, entered a pact with India's Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN), setting a record of the largest-ever foreign direct investment (FDI) to Nepal. 
 
Arun-III is Nepal's largest hydro project and being developed with India's assistance. The project will provide employment opportunities for 3,000 people in India and Nepal together during construction phase. 
 
Everest Bank and Nabil Bank from Nepal had agreed to provide debt of NPR 1,536 crore for the project, while five Indian banks, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Axim Bank, and UBI have pledged NPR  8,598 crore for the same. 
 
The total debt tied up with the banks is worth NPR 7,860 crore along with NPR 2,274 crore as a stand-by line of credit. 
 
The SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company, incorporated for construction of the project on 25 April 2013, will be investing around NPR 11,000 crore in Nepal over the next five years. 
 
The total investment of the project is estimated to surpass Rs 115 billion, including Rs 11 billion for development of the transmission line.  
 
With the completion of the project, Nepal will get 21.9 percent of the total electricity produced in a year i.e. 197 MW electricity with 86 crore units for free in a year. 
 
The foundation for the project was jointly laid by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart K P Sharma Oli in May 2018. 
 
The hydropower project has 3.65 hours of minimum peaking capacity envisaged for installation of four generating units of 225 MW each gives the project a total installed capacity of 900 MW. 
 
The estimated cost of the project to be completed within five years stands at USD 1.04 billion. It will produce 4,018.87 million units of electricity a year. 
 
The project is being developed on a build own operate and transfer (BOOT) basis by SJVN Arun-III Power Development Company (SAPDC), a joint venture of the government of India and the government of Himachal Pradesh. 
 
The SJVN has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Nepal in March 2008 for the execution of the project. 
 
The construction of the project is in full swing. SJVN will operate the power plant for a concession period of 30 years, following which the ownership will be transferred to the Nepal government.
 
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