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IBN refutes govt claim on West Seti Hydro Project

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — Investment Board Nepal (IBN) has said that it was holding deliberations with China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) regarding the financial viability of the West Seti Hydropower Project (750 MW) refuting Finance Ministry’s claims that the government would build the West Seti Hydropower Project with internal resources as stated in the recently released budget for fiscal year 2018-19.

Issuing a statement on Wednesday, the IBN has said that there has been no decision to scrap the pact signed with China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC)– the proposed developer of the 750MW reservoir-type project.

IBN said a study committee, formed by its 29th Board Meeting chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli as per CTCG’s request for some clarity on financial viability of the project, has already submitted its report and that the report is under consideration.

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“Recent media reports suggesting that the accord signed with the CTCG will be scrapped and the government will build the project on its own have drawn our attention,” the statement reads.

“No such decision has been made by the government.”

The statement came after the government’s announcement to build the reservoir project by mobilizing internal resources.

Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, while presenting the federal budget for the next fiscal year on May 29, had said the construction work on West Seti would be commenced by mobilising internal resources.

The project, located in far-western Nepal, has been languishing in uncertainty after the CTGC said it would not go ahead with the scheme if the power purchase rate was not increased.

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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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