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Govt decides to award Budhi Gandaki Hydel project to Chinese firm again

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The government has decided to award contract for the construction of the 1,200-megawatt Budhigandaki hydropower project, a national pride project, to China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) once again.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday has decided to award the contract for the project to CGGCL reverting the erstwhile Sher Bahadur Deuba government’s decision to develop the 1200MW project with internal resources.

The Cabinet meeting has directed the Energy Ministry to initiate the process to award the project to the Chinese company.

Following the government decision, the Energy Ministry will now invite the Chinese company for talks and prepare a draft of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) before signing it, according to multiple sources at the ministry.

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As per the Cabinet decision, the ministry has been asked to hold talks with the Gezhouba, prepare a proposal, and strike a deal to execute the $2.5 billion reservoir project.

Earlier on May 15, 2017, the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to construct the Budhigandaki project to CGGCL, juat nine days before he was to resign from the PM’s post.

The Dahal-led government had awarded the contract to CGGCL at a cost of Rs 260 billion as per a study carried out by a French company, Tractebel Engineering.

The agreement, however, invited controversy as the project was handed to the Chinese company without initiating a competitive bidding process.

The Budhi Gandaki hydel project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country. The government has allocated Rs18 billion for compensation payments and operational expenses for this fiscal year.

The Gorkha and Dhading district administration offices are currently distributing compensation to owners of the land taken over by the project.

More than 8,000 households will be affected by the project, according to the latest report.

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Economy

Business community demands slash in interest rate

Pratigya Waiju

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BIRATNAGAR— The industrialists and traders in Biratnagar have asked the government to immediately reduce the high interest rate charged by the bank and financial institutions (BFIs) from the borrowers.

They argued that the interest rate should be around seven percent for the production-based industries and up to nine percent for the trading firms.

At a programme jointly organised by Industry Association Morang and Trade Association Morang on Thursday, the business leaders drew attention of the government to that end adding that job creation for the labour force of 500,000 was not likely only from the industry and trade sectors.

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Stressing the need for slashing the interest rate, they also argued the central bank should realise the reality that no bank was running out of loss. The industrialists and businesspersons said that industries and business should flourish to reduce the trade deficit, strengthen the economy and create more job opportunities.

Industrialists Bhim Ghimire, Pawan Kumar Sharda, Sushen Pyakurel, Moti Dugad and others said that bank’s interest rate should be low to increase the domestic investment and lure the foreign investment.

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