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Madhesi Morcha announces new protest programs

Gorkha Post



KATHMANDU — Agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on Friday announced new protest programs charging that the government was taking the talks lightly.

The new protest programs include burning copies of the Constitution Amendment Bill, holding protest rallies and assemblies and obstructing representatives of the government including ministers and lawmakers from visiting Tarai districts.

The Front, however, maintained silence on if its border blockade program continued.

The Front held a meeting in Kathmandu today to review the protest programs and formulate new strategies and announced new programs after the Constitution Amendment Bill the government tabled at the Parliament.

The Front concluded that the talks turned irrelevant as the government did not have any clear view on demands of the protesting parties, said the press statement issued after the meeting adding that the Constitution Amendment Bill did not address concerns of Madhesis, Janajatis, Dalits, Tharus, Muslims and other agitating communities.

The Front has been protesting the new Constitution for over three months.

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

Gorkha Post



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.

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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