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‘Follow norms and move ahead for West Seti’
By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Mar. 28

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Means on Wednesday decided to direct the government to move the 750-MW reservoir-based West Seti Hydropower Project ahead fulfilling the procedural requirements.

Earlier, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Energy (MoE) and the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) on February 29 to carry out the project under the public private partnership (PPP) model.

However, the committee had directed the government not to proceed ahead with the implementation of the MoU citing ‘lack of transparency’ in the deal made with the CTGC.

The committee had formed a sub-committee under the coordination of Laxman Ghimire to probe into the issue. The committee had raised questions such as bidding process, PPA rates, among others.

At today’s meeting, the sub-committee presented its report. Following the discussions at the meeting, Shanta Chaudhary, Chairperson of the committee, said, the committee has decided to ask the government to carry out the project after fulfilling the necessary procedures through the Investment Board.

"The government should go through the Investment Board while carrying out large projects such as the West Seti. The committee is not against any hydropower projects," she added.

Similarly, the committee has also asked the government to demand Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) agreement in the Nepalese currency as far as possible.

"If not, the government should demand for bearing the risk equally when the PPA is in dollars," she said.

Besides, the committee has also directed the government to complete the project by 2019.

The state-owned CTGC is China’s largest hydropower developer, better known as the company that constructed the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (20,300 MW).

As per the agreement, the reservoir-based 750-MW hydropower project would be constructed with 75 per cent investment of the Three Gorges and 25 per cent from the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).

The total estimated cost of the project is around Rs. 124 billion. The CTGC has also agreed to provide concessional loans to NEA if needed.

As per the MoU, the CTGC will have 75 percent stake, while Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will have 25 percent stake in the special purpose vehicle.

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