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Nepal, Bangladesh sign MoU on energy cooperation

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KATHMANDU — Nepal and Bangladesh have signed a memorandum of understanding for power sector cooperation for intensifying the bilateral engagements for power sector development.

Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun and his Bangladeshi counterpart Minister of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid have signed the agreement amid a function here in Kathmandu on Friday.

Nepal has identified Bangladesh as a prospective market for hydroelectricity, which is a clean and renewable source of energy.

Nepal then had started talking with Bangladesh on bilateral energy cooperation since the power trade agreement (PTA) was signed with India in 2014.

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Nepal and Bangladesh, after the ‘SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity)’ among the SAARC member states in November 2014, have seen the prospects of bilateral power cooperation.

But, to execute power trade and power cooperation between the two nations, Nepal and Bangladesh need to hold talks with India as there is power trade between Nepal and India, and also Bangladesh and India.

Bangladesh will require around 34,000 megawatts of power by 2030 to sustain the high economic growth of above seven per cent.

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

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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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