Location: Hotel Yak and Yeti, Kathmandu

Date: 12th April, 2019

Energy Development Council (EDC) with USAID’s Nepal Hydropower Development Project (NHDP) co-organized an interaction program on “Forest and Land Issues in Hydropower Project Development” on 12th April, 2019 at Hotel Yak & Yeti, Kathmandu, Nepal. The main aim of this program was to bring together all associated stakeholder to discuss on the pertinent forest and land issues prevailing in hydropower project development.

Mr. Kushal Gurung, Head of Executive Committee of EDC gave a welcome address followed by an insightful presentation by Mr. Padmendra Shrestha on the topic of “Key Challenges for electricity related infrastructure in Nepal”

Present in the panel discussion were Mr. Shankar Bahadur Thapa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLCPA), Mr. Ram Gopal Kharbuja, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI), Mr. Shyam Yadav, Manager – Transmission Directorate, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and Mr. Sushil Pokharel, Chairman, Sushmit Energy Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Anjan Neupane, Partner, Neupane Law Associates was the moderator for the program.

During the discussion, Mr. Shankar Bahadur Thapa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLCPA) mentioned that “National Land Policy” is in the process of development and that there should be one stop integrated policy required for land approval EIA, IEE can be taken into sole consideration. Similarly, representing the private sector, Mr. Sushil Pokharel focused ‘specifically on the formulation of special unified laws and regulation so as to meet the government target of reaching 15000 MW in ten years’. There needs to be one stop simplified procedural solution.

The panelists representing the government authority also informed the audience about existing challenges in the criteria of land valuation and land compensation and notified about the ongoing work to define the checklist for the land valuation.  

Mr. Shyam Yadav, Manager, Transmission Directorate, NEA stated that land compensation for acquiring right of way, which is only 10 %, is not sufficient causing the delay in construction of transmission line and stressed on the need of resolving the issue.

Addressing the issues of forest from the audience, panelists notified about the government plan for reduction of the tree plantation ratio requirement to 1:10 from 1:25. Furthermore, Mr. Ram Gopal Kharbuja, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) mentioned that government is looking after modality to accept cash for forest land used for hydropower project development.

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