It is heartening to note that the State 1 is going to make great strides in the development of the hydropower sector. The Tamor Reservoir Hydropower Project will materialise within a couple of years. The Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) and a Chinese company inked a deal to develop the key reservoir-based power project during the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Nepal. As per the agreement, Chinese and Nepali power developers will collaborate for developing the 756-megawatt power project. While developing the project, a 200-metre long embankment will have to be built between Kummayak Rural Municipality of Panchthar district and Okhre and Naudhunge villages of Chhathar Rural Municipality in Terhathum district to materialise the multipurpose project. As a national pride project, the Federal and the State 1 governments have accorded high priority to the largest ever power project in eastern Nepal. The project requires an estimated budget of Rs. 150 billion. As per the deal, the Chinese side will invest 74 per cent of the total cost while the Nepali side will have to recover the remaining 26 per cent for the project. Another big power project under construction in the State 1 is the Arun III Hydropower Project.
According to a news report published in this daily, the signing of the agreement has brought high hopes to local stakeholders. They are confident that the mega power project will be instrumental in improving the living standard of the people living in the State 1. It may also be helpful for the national prosperity as a whole. It will contribute to the local economy through the development of agriculture and tourism sectors in Panchthar, Terhathum and Taplejung districts. Recognising the importance of the project, Minister for Financial Affairs and Project of State 1 Indra Bahadur Angbo has termed it as ‘the pearl of the east Nepal’. Minister Angbo said that the State 1 government is determined to develop the project as a multipurpose one. In its current fiscal year budget statement, the government has pledged to accord top priority to the Tamor Chisang Diversion Multipurpose Reservoir Project. With the help of this project, the State government aims to achieve 9.7 per cent economic growth in the next five years. The government is also planning to increase the per capita income of the people to US$ 1,620 by that period.
It would take about three years to carry out a comprehensive study of the Tamor Reservoir Project, which is expected to be cheaper than the Budhigandaki Reservoir Project. This means that the project is highly desirable. The project is also likely to have less environmental impacts. A study shows that only 126 households will have to be displaced from the project site. It means that there will be less local social interruptions in the implementation of the project. The locals are now quite enthusiastic that the project will materialise in the near future. Local people’s representatives are ready to help the government implement the project. The authorities concerned now need to start doing necessary groundwork for the project so as to materialise it within the stipulated timeframe.