World Bank okays 400 million dollar loan to HP power project

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Shimla, Sep 14 (UNI) The World Bank has approved a 400 million dollar loan to the public sector power company, Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN), for developing a run-of-river Rampur hydropower Project on Satluj River, a company official today said.

The 412 MW project is expected to generate about 1,770 million units (MUs) of electricity every year and would also feed the Northern Grid, he said here.

The project would not require a dam or a reservoir to be built and so would not inundate any land nor would it extract any additional water from the river, since it would reuse the water used by the existing upstream Nathpa Jhakri power plant.

The social and environmental impacts of the projects on the local communities would be very little as compared to other plants of this size, they said.

Himachal Pradesh would receive 12 per cent, totaling about 12 million dollar, of the total electricity generated by the plant as annual royalty besides 30 per cent equity share in it.

The SJVN is a 75:25 per cent joint venture between Himachal and the Centre, which has agreed to be the guarantor for the loan that is being provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with a 20 year maturity, including a five-year grace period.

Meanwhile, a World Bank release quoted SJVN's Chairman and Managing Director H K Sharma as saying that continued association with the Bank had helped it institutionalise sensitive and sustainable systems of environment management and benefit-sharing.

''We have set up systems to ensure that project-affected families, as well as the local communities, acquire a continuing stake in the development initiated by the Rampur project,'' he said.

Mr Sharma said in keeping with the Bank policies and SJVNs corporate philosophies, efforts have been made not just to mitigate any social and environmental impacts of the Rampur Project, but also to look for opportunities to improve the lives of people in the projects vicinity.

Innovative benefit-sharing measures have been launched, including the setting up of a fund for building community infrastructure in project-affected villages, and education support and healthcare for the local people, he added.

UNI

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