English | Dzongkha Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Allocate more time and resources on DPRs: NC

Nidup Gyeltshen, Thimphu
Nov 27, 2015

Allocate more time and resources on DPRs- NC-Cost escalations, local employment, preparing feasibility reports, and loan repayments were some of the issues the National Council raised while reviewing the Sustainable Hydropower development policy, today.

In a 40-page document prepared by an ad-hoc committee, the house recommended allocating more time and resources while preparing Detailed Project Reports (DPR) before constructing a hydropower project.

Committee members said this led to geological surprises when actual construction starts, eventually leading to cost escalations. Pema Gatshel NC Member, Jigmi Rinzin said the more detailed the study, the better prospect of a project not confronting geological problem.

Today hydropower projects in the country used only 0.42 percent of the total project costs towards preparing DPRs. While international average is around 2 percent, countries like Japan allocate 5 percent to DPR preparations and studies.

Projects in the country also took only two years to complete the DPR while other countries took between five to ten years.

Trongsa NC member, Tharchen said given the country’s location on a fragile geological topography, it was important that adequate time and resources be allocated while preparing DPRs.

He said there are also no clear directions on fixing accountability.

“We have experienced several incidences where detailed projects have failed to study ground realities. Today, there is no basis on fixing accountability to those who prepare the DPR. Should there be cost escalations, delays, geological surprises after a thorough preparation of the report, consultants who were involved in preparing the DPR should be held accountable.”

He said, Bhutanese and local consulting firms should also be given priority in preparing DPRs. According to the current policy, identifying consultants were not in the hands of the Bhutanese government. Councilors said, this could be an area where the Druk Green Power Corporation’s role could be strengthened.

Towards the end, members also discussed on issues related to, knowledge and technology transfer and local employment in the hydropower sector. Pema Gatshel NC Member Jigmi Rinzin said the sector employs only 21 percent Bhutanese.

In their recommendation to the government, councilors also suggested including hydropower development within the five-year plans and also in the annual budget.

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