The government has handed over the Budhigandaki Hydropower Project to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) 11 days after scrapping the deal with the Chinese corporation Gezhouba Group reports, The Himalayan Times.
The government has decided to construct the project using domestic funds and technology.
NEA has been given eight years to construct the 1200 MW reservoir project on engineering, procurement and construction model. NEA is to form a committee and submit a report within 15 days.
Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Kamal Thapa said, “We need a reservoir project and the government decided to construct the national pride project with domestic funds and technology.” He added, “Many concerns regarding the project were raised during this short time and the government has now taken a final decision regarding the project.”
The Council of Ministers has formed a recommendation committee under the coordination of vice-chairman of National Planning Commission. This committee will analyse and recommend the financial model to construct the project. The members of the committee include finance secretary, energy secretary, governor of Nepal Rastra Bank and joint secretary of International Economic Coordination Division of the Ministry of Energy. The managing director of NEA serves as the member secretary.
Thapa said that the government would choose the best model among all the models suggested by the committee.
The Budhigandaki Hydropower Project will affect 27 villages and 150,000 ropanis of land would be inundated by the project to be constructed in Dhading and Gorkha district. The government has already allotted Rs. 60 billion for the land acquisition for the project.
According to Thapa, the government had directed the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat to conduct the downstream benefit study of the project. He said, “The government is serious about building the reservoir project and the work related to distribution of the compensation to affected people and rehabilitation will be completed as soon as possible.”
On May 23, the Cabinet led by the CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had decided on the Chinese firm. And the two sides had signed the agreement on June 4. Since then, many voices had been raised against the project. And finally, the Cabinet meeting held on November 13 had scrapped the deal.
As per the detailed study report, the project will cost around Rs. 260 billion. The government has allocated Rs. 5.5 billion to develop the project through the budget of fiscal year 2017-18.