First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: In a recent development, the Independent Power Producers’ Association – Nepal (IPPAN) has brought to light a concerning issue: the Ministry of Forests and Environment’s failure to adhere to a Supreme Court order.
This matter stems from a decision handed down in 2080, specifically concerning the amendment of plans for constructing and operating physical infrastructure within protected areas.
IPPAN asserts that the Ministry has not followed the directives outlined by the Supreme Court. Despite an order to create guidelines ensuring the security of investments, the Ministry has yet to enforce this directive.
Nepal’s diverse geography, spanning from the Terai plains to the hills and Himalayan regions, provides a prime opportunity for hydropower generation from rivers that flow down from the Himalayas to the Terai. IPPAN claims that the government’s efforts to develop hydropower projects within protected areas have been hindered by policy ambiguities since the Ministry’s notice in 2065.
To address this issue promptly, the Cabinet of Ministers, following amendments to the ‘Policy for the Development and Operation of Physical Infrastructure within Protected Areas, 2065,’ issued a directive on Jestha 14, 2078. This directive aimed to implement changes in line with the Supreme Court’s final decision without altering procedures, regulations, and guidelines.
The decision’s full text stated, “To resolve the ambiguities and challenges related to implementing this order, the Ministry should make necessary adjustments in accordance with the revised policy.”
IPPAN has taken a proactive stance, urging the Ministry of Forests and Environment and related agencies to resolve this matter swiftly. They call for the issuance of clear guidelines, approval of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)/Initial Environmental Examinations (IEE), and the granting of forest clearances and Right of Way (ROW) for transmission line construction before submission to the Supreme Court.
The Ministry of Forests and Environment, alongside relevant authorities, has repeatedly sought clarification before enforcing the Supreme Court’s order, leading to delays in the process. IPPAN underscores the importance of adhering to the Court’s order and eliminating any hindrances in the development of hydropower projects.
It is imperative that the Ministry and related agencies respect the Supreme Court’s directive and take the necessary steps to facilitate the development of hydropower projects along Nepal’s rivers and streams. Achieving the goal of generating 28,500 megawatts of electricity within the next 12 years is vital for Nepal’s energy sector. IPPAN asserts that the government’s hesitance to comply with the Court’s directive poses a challenge to Nepal’s hydropower industry.
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