Kholongchhu Hydro Energy project construction works expected to resume next month

If everything goes as planned, the much-anticipated Kholongchhu Hydro Energy project construction works will resume next month. According to the energy and natural resources minister, the Druk Green Power Corporation has collaborated with India’s Tata Company to resume the project. The project which started as a joint venture with SJVN, a hydropower development company based in India has been halted since 2022 with the exit of the Indian company.

The construction of the 600-megawatt Kholongchhu Hydro Energy project started in 2015 as a joint venture to be completed by 2020.

However, the project was halted after completing only around seven per cent of the work during the joint venture model. Its cost exceeded Nu 4.5bn.

Explaining the major repercussions faced by the people in the area, the Member of Parliament from the Boomdeling _Jamkhar constituency of Trashi Yangtse questioned the minister for energy and natural resources on the project’s status.

“The prime minister announced that the works on the Kholongchhu Hydro Energy project will resume immediately after collaboration with two chairpersons from Tata in India. So, what is the update, and when will the project resume? We also request the possibility of maintaining the Kholongchhu office in Trashi Yangtse town itself,” said Wangdi, Boomdeling -Jamkhar’s MP.

The minister said the government has already talked with the Tata Company and has reached the agreement signing phase.

“We have already talked with the Tata company. Now, the Druk Green Power Corporation and the Tata company have come to terms to sign an agreement. However, work cannot resume immediately as we need to resolve issues from the previous joint-venture project. So, we hope to resume works by next month,” said Gem Tshering, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources.

The minister also added that residents of Trashi Yangste will reap the benefits once the project resumes.

Questions were also raised on how the government plans to address the cost escalation of the project. The initial cost of the project was estimated at Nu 54.4bn.

The Kholongchhu Hydro Energy project started as a joint venture between SJVN of India and Druk Green Power Corporation. However, the joint venture model was dissolved in 2022 as the project was not progressing well.

Devika Pradhan

Edited by Phub Gyem

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