Seven hydropower projects are currently being developed along Likhu River, a glacier running through Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, and Solukhumbu districts in eastern Nepal. The projects, situated in Likhu Rural Municipality of Okhaldhunga district and Bijulikot of Likhu-Tamakoshi Rural Municipality of Ramechhap district, will yield a total 329.6 MW of electricity upon their completion.
A 58 MW Vision Hydropower Project plant is being developed at Lahachhewar in the northern part of Ramechhap. Access road and other structures are being built, in addition to a powerhouse near Umatirtha of the district.
Likewise, 77 MW Likhu-1 has reached the last phase of construction, with the injection of funds from Prime Bank, among six other banks. The Dugar Group has the largest shares (30 percent) in the project whose estimated cost of production is Rs 180 million per megawatt. The project will be completed this August, according to Rajan Chhetri, an official with the Group.
Water coming out of the project is utilized for another project, 55 MW Likhu-2, with Machhapuchhare Bank as the largest investor. A third project, 29.4 MW Likhu-3, is being simultaneously developed downstream. It was also supposed to start generating electricity by August. Works on tunnels, powerhouse, and transmission lines are underway in all three projects. The generated electricity will be connected to the national grid at Garjan sub-station at Chuchure of Ramechhap district.
Meanwhile, about 30 percent work of 52.2 MW Likhu-4 has been completed. The project site lies between Khijidemba of Okhaldhunga and Umakunda of Ramechhap and the powerhouse will be built at Limti of Okhaldhunga. Similarly, Lower Likhu project is under construction at Dhande along the border of Okhaldhunga and Ramechhap districts. About 50 percent work on the 28.1 MW project has been completed.
The projects will directly benefit two rural municipalities each in Okhaldhunga and Ramechhap. Locals are happy to see the seven projects being developed simultaneously.
“Likhu River is becoming a hydro hub. We are happy that roads, drinking water supplies, and other infrastructure are being built in our area,” says Mawar Sunuwar, council member of Likhu Rural Municipality. “The entire area will soon see a facelift.”
“Crucial infrastructure will be built in the villages with the seven projects,” says Lila Sunuwar, a social activist of Khijidemba Rural Municipality. “Locals of the affected area will get compensations, and the entire area will be developed. Moreover, locals will have shares in the hydropower projects, which in turn will help improve their economic conditions.”
“There is also a possibility of water-tourism in Khijidemba and Likhu areas,” Sunuwar adds.
Says Chandrakanta Sunuwar, public relations officer of Likhu Rural Municipality: “Locals hugely benefit from the projects’ by-products, which include infrastructures for health, education, drinking water, and transport”.