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DoTM Director General Bhattarai transferred to ministry

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KATHMANDU — Department of Transport Management (DoTM) Director General Rup Narayan Bhattarai — a key person to end the transport syndicates — has been transferred to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

A meeting presided over by Transport Minister Raghubir Mahaseth on May 14 had decided to call Bhattarai to the ministry. Bhattarai was accused of not cooperating with the ministry.

The transfer of Bhattarai, who had taken a hard line against the transport syndicates, has now raised serious questions about Mahaseth’s motives and also that of the government as the Oli-led government had been credited with taking a bold move for ending the transport syndicates.

According to an official at the DoTM — who said said that Bhattarai was called at the ministry under the pressure of transport entrepreneurs — Bhattarai had played an instrumental role to bring an end to the syndicate practice in the transportation sector.

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Earlier too, Bhattarai was transferred under the pressure of transport entrepreneurs. Then Transport Minister Bir Bahadur Balayar had kept him at the department by giving importance to some of the important decisions made by him.

The government had scrapped all the transport bodies a month ago under the initiative of Bhattarai. DoTM under the leadership of Bhattarai had opened new vehicle route permits that were controlled by transport bodies.

Bhattarai had taken the lead in drafting nine guidelines for ending transport syndicates. The government subsequently decided to seize the assets of 300 transport entrepreneurs and terminated several route permits of the protesting transport operators.

It has been learned that Mahaseth was also unhappy with Bhattarai for expanding the service of renewing driving licenses through already existing centers. Such services were recently started from Biratnagar and Bardiya.

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Sino-Nepal bilateral agreement implementation process begins

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KATHMANDU — The government has begun a process to implement energy cooperation agreement held with the government of China in a bid to attract more foreign investment and expand hydropower market in the country.

So far, Nepal has signed such agreements with India and Bangladesh as well. The process was begun following the Sino-Nepal agreement reached on 14 different areas during the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s recent visit to China.

Bilateral agreements including railway construction in Nepal based on the trade and transit agreement, protocol concerning the utilisation of highways in Tibet Autonomous Region of China by Nepal for cargo transport was signed on the occasion.

Similarly, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on investment and cooperation on production capacity between the National Development and Reforms Commission of China and National Planning Commission of Nepal was signed during the visit.

Likewise, an agreement between the two governments was signed on reconstruction of the Friendship Bridge in Tatopani of Sindhupalchok and Rasuwagadhi of Rasuwa.

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Similarly, MoU was signed between the two countries on the establishment of a mechanism for facilitation on the implementation of China-Nepal Cooperation Programmes and Projects in Nepal.

In line with these agreements, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun has finalized the name to be represented from Nepal to the joint committee.

Energy secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyay has been nominated as the co-chair at the committee. There will be other seven members at the committee representing from electricity development department, Nepal Electricity Authority, and joint secretary from the Energy Ministry.

The committee meeting will be held in Kathmandu on September 27 and 28. The meeting will hold discussions on bilateral cooperation on energy sectors and progress on investment exchange in the areas among other issues.

The committee has been assigned to create environment conducive to welcome investment in the energy development from both government and private sectors.

Minister Pun said that the process has begun to form a joint committee and it will forward the process to implement the bilateral agreements in the energy development sectors.

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Agreements with Bangladesh also towards implementation

Similarly, the process of formation of two committees in line with the agreements signed between Nepal and Bangladesh has been forwarded.

Minister for Energy Pun following the Cabinet meeting on Sunday had made the decisions and picked the representatives to be in the Secretary-led Joint Executive Committee and Joint Technical Committee led by Join-Secretary.

The MoU regarding the energy cooperation between Nepal and Bangladesh provisions the formation of two committees, one led by Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation and other Joint-Secretary of the same ministry.

Nepal and Bangladesh had inked an MoU on energy cooperation between the two countries on August 10. Minister Pun and Bangladeshi Minister of State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid had signed the MoU.

Nepal signing MoU on BIMSTEC grid interconnections

Likewise, the government has decided to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to the establishment of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral, Economic and Technical Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grid interconnections. The decision to this effect was taken Sunday.

Nepal is expected to find an easier way to supply electricity generated here to India, Bangladesh and Myanmar once it signs the MoU.

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Issues relating to the construction of transmission lines and their operations have been incorporated in the MoU. Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, has been given an authority to sign the document on behalf of the government of Nepal.

The member states of BIMSTEC, a sub- regional body comprising seven members in South Asia and South East Asia dependent on the Bay of Bengal, are meeting on coming August 30-31 in Kathmandu for the fourth Summit.

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