KATHMANDU, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday inaugurated a China-funded 60MW Hydropower Project which had started producing electricity recently.
Upper Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project, developed by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power production and utility body, and constructed by China Gezhouba Group Company, is located at the border of Rasuwa and Nuwakot districts in the central region.
Prime Minister Oli hit the switch to inaugurate the project from his office at Singh Durbar, Kathmandu as he watched the project site through video along government officials.
During the inauguration, Prime Minister Oli said that the project would help to reduce electricity import from India and promote industrialization and modernization of agriculture by increasing the use of electricity. "We will strengthen our economy by completing similar other under-construction projects."
According to NEA, Nepal's average demand of electricity is around 1300MW and the country has been importing around 500MW electricity from India.
The NEA said that the Upper Trishuli 3A project will run in full capacity for eight months in a year and it will produce 45MW even in the remaining four months. "It will fulfill the seven percent of total electricity demand of the country," Phanindraraj Joshi, chief of the project, told Xinhua on Monday.
The NEA developed the project with concessional loan of around 116 million U.S. dollar from China Exim Bank along with its some domestic resources. Total project cost stood at 125 million U.S. dollar, according to NEA. Nepal should repay the loan to China Exim Bank in 25 years including a grace period of five year.
"It is also the first project in Nepal which was contracted under Engineering Procurement Construction Modality," said Joshi.
The NEA had signed contract with China Gezhouba Group Company in May 2010 to develop the project.
Although the project was supposed to be completed by May, 2014, factors like dispute over whether to build power house underground or over ground and whether to increase the capacity of the project, delayed the completion of the project initially.
Following the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, the work in the project was delayed further as access roads to the project sites were badly damaged by landslides caused by the quake.