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Plane lands at Balewa Airport first time in 16 years

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PARBAT — An aircraft of the Tara Air landed at Balewa Airport for the first time in 16 years.

The private airline conducted the test flight from Pokhara with a Twin Otter aircraft having the call sign 9NKL.

The airline is preparing to operate regular flights from Pokhara to Balewa from coming March 23. The company said there seemed no problem in the airport to operate the regular flight.

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The twin otter with three crew members– pilot Santosh Shah, co-pilot Prabhat Ghimire and air hostess Sirjana Humagain –made its landing at the airport which was shut owing to lack of passengers.

The Baglung Municipality has agreed to bear the loss if the airline company failed to find passengers for regular flights.

Earlier, the Municipality promised to compensate if the loss in the operation of regular flights and, following the Municipality’s announcement, various airlines companies became ready to operate their services to Balewa.

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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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