In the past, the Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) floated ideas of setting up a hydropower construction company but it failed to see the light of day.
However, DGPC managing director Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, said that setting up a hydropower construction company is not a major mandate for the corporation right now though it fits in the overall mandate to develop human resource in hydropower projects.
“Major mandates are for maintenance and operation of existing Hydro Power projects and also take up the development of new hydropower project considering the opportunities available in the construction business with 10,000 MW likely to be developed by the government of Bhutan with assistance from the Government of India by 2020, ” he said.
The idea of establishing a hydropower construction company rose up to involve the Bhutanese contractors in construction of major work since no Bhutanese companies were involved in major construction activities other than infrastructural works.
DGPC felt that it could help develop a hydropower construction company in Bhutan which could take up some of the construction activities.
“Limited companies are there to construct the hydropower projects. As the projects increases, the resources of limited companies that have the capacity to build hydropower projects gets stretched,” said DGPC managing director.
“Therefore these companies in India who have the capacity to construct hydropower projects are also facing human resource and equipment constraints,” he added.
Initially DGPC’s intention was to ensure the capacity to be available beyond the limited company of India, whereby Bhutanese private sector got interested too.
The Bhutanese private sector requested to partner in forming the company therefore it came up with a Public Private Partnership.
But the initiative failed since Bhutanese private sector wanted the government to enable them a direct entry into construction of hydropower projects.
“The private construction companies did not want to get into bidding and they were not qualifying the criteria even though they formed a consortium,” said the managing director. “Even if they form a consortium they may not be able to undertake major constructions such as dam, tunnels and power house.”
“The Indian government has indicated that the huge hydropower construction companies of today started on a small scale, gained experience and grew,” he said. He added that he advised Bhutanese private sector to do the same.
Therefore, the private sector presently has been advised not to enter directly into construction. However, huge concession has already been made that all the infrastructural works such as roads, bridges, buildings, and other major works needed for hydropower projects is to be done by private companies.
“Under these infrastructural works there are lot of opportunities for Bhutanese Private Sectors,” said DGPC managing director.
Considering this DGPC has not really moved the idea of setting up the hydropower construction company at least for the present.
In the mean time, they are working on Joint venture projects such as Kholongchhu, Chamkhar Wangchhu and Bunakha which has a capacity of over 2,000 MW.