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Bhutan to start three more major hydro power projects
Debasis Sarkar, ET Bureau, February 16, 2014
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 SILIGURI: Concerned over its own progress towards targeted goal in hydropower sector, Himalayan country Bhutan is putting serious effort to start 3 new hydroprojects by next one year. All these projects are under Bhutan's plan to achieve its goal of providing 10,000 MW additional power to India by 2020.

Economic affairs ministry of Bhutan considered it as difficult to fulfill commitment to India to provide the additional power by 2020. But, according to Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk, Minister for Economic Affairs. Bhutan, best effort is being put to start three new projects within this year and to keep all the other under construction projects in good pace.

Showing importance of Bhutan's commitment to India, Dasho Tsering Wangda, Consul General of Bhutan in India, said earlier, "Now Bhutan's priority is to fulfill its commitment to India by establishing the planned projects." And thus, "Scope of fresh FDI in power generation sector in Bhutan is not there for newer future."

As planned, development of this installed capacity to produce targeted 10,000 MW with an estimated expenditure of around INR 80,000 crore is to remain mainly under the monitoring of Druk Green Power Corporation(DGPC), the highest Hydropower authority of Bhutan.

According to DGCP MD Mr. C Rinzin, at present, Bhutan does not have enough in-house human resource, infrastructure or financial strength to develop all these projects of its own. So, it is proceeding with two finalized financial models in hand. These are Inter Governmental(IG) and Joint Venture(JV) models.

As learnt, for the IG model, a new body, powered by Indian finance, will shoulder the responsibility of installing capacity of 7,000 to 8,000MW. For the rest 2000 to 3000 MW capacity, Indian public sectors, with DGPC as partners, are undertaking the projects under JV model. Indian partners will organize loans to suffice 70% of the need. They, along with DGPC will put in their own equity as the rest 30%. Here, DGPC's share of equity also will be provided by India as Grant.

However, in addition to all the seven projects started this year, three more are about to be started soon. But all these need to be completed by next 6 years which is a tough task.

This article first appeared here

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