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Journalists to avail 50 percent off in medicinal treatment

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KATHMANDU — The administration has provisioned 50 percent rebate for journalists in medical treatment in government healing facilities in in its Saturday unveiled annual budget for 2016-17.

Government, in its budget, has pledged the expansion of broadcasting of state-owned television channel- Nepal Television – and Radio Nepal in the local language at Terai.

The total of budget estimates for fiscal year 2016/017- amounting to one trillion 48 billion 921 million 432 thousand rupees- was presented at the meeting of the Legislature-Parliament on Saturday.

In a bid to make Nepal Television, Radio Nepal and Gorkhapattra Corporation professional and self-dependent, organizational and legal reforms will be out in place, according to the budget statement.

Similarly, the budget statement states, “The Rural Communications Development Fund will be mobilized for rendering free internet service to community colleges, community schools and primary health care centres across the country through microwave transmission.”

The budget also has it that the 4G services will be launched in Kathmandu Valley and Sub-Metropolitan Cities in the country.

Minister for Finance Bishu Prasad Poudel, who presented the upcoming budget, shared that the fastest internet service will be launced in 72 districts by installing fiber optic cables alongside Mid-hills Highway and Hulaki Road. Expansion of internet in the places difficult to install optical fiber will be carried out through microwave transmissions service.

Commenting on the budget, Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Dr Mahendra Bista said that of many demands put forth by the Federations, the government only nodded to the discount on medical treatment for journalists.

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NPC urges government to seek clarification from Chinese firm

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KATHMANDU — The National Planning Commission (NPC) has urged the government to seek clarification from China Three Gorges International Corporation (CTGC) over the construction of the Paschim (West) Seti Hydro Power Project.

The meeting of the NPC that began on Sunday, made the decision of seeking clarification from the company with a time period of 90 days regarding the construction of 750 MW hydropower project.

The hydropower project, which is expected to be completed in an investment of 1.60 billion rupees, will have 65 percent investments from the CTGC, 25 percent from the National Electricity Authority (NEA) and the 10 percent investments from the locals as share, as per the plans made before.

CTGC can sell off its 14 percent of its total 65 percent share to the Nepali investors. But the CTGC has been showing dissatisfaction over the rate of purchasing the electricity per unit (PPA). Previously it had asked the NEA to review the rate but got a negative response.

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“We have suggested the government to interrogate the company whether it will be able to complete the project or not. What has been the problem to expedite the construction along with the terms and conditions which the company wants to put forward,” NPC Vice President Swarnim Wagle said.

The CGTC, which has been delaying the construction over its dissatisfaction over the PPA, has been threatening to walk out of the construction.

The project, which covers the area of Doti, Dadeldhura, Baitadi, and Bajhang districts of Far Western Development Region of Nepal, can produce 3.33 billion units of electricity on yearly basis, accoridng to the probability study of the project.

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