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Parliamentary committee has this to say on West Seti

N24 Correspondent,KATHMANDU: The Parliament’s Natural Resources and Means Committee (NRMC) has suggested China Three Gorges deal on West Seti deal be put under the purview of Nepal Investment Board.

The committee has directed the government to make amendments in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the China Three Gorges International Corporation (CTGI) on February 29.

The NRMC has come up with a list of areas where it wants the government to make changes before finalising the project agreement with the Chinese company.

It however says that West Seti project should move ahead as a top priority.

“We have prepared the report with suggestions of making the project a multipurpose entity,” said Thapa, a Nepali Congress lawmaker.

The report has called on the Ministry of Energy (MoE) to prepare a financial plan before the deal gets final endorsement from the government.

It has also suggested the government to hold talks with the CTGI on equity sharing, with the Nepali side holding 49 percent of it.

However, a senior MoE official said that the change in equity structure as recommended by the committee might create a problem. “The CTGI has agreed to manage soft loan for the NEA to fund for its 25 percent stake,” said the official. “But, who will manage the funds for the additional 24 percent of the stake?”

The report has called for timely completion of the project as mentioned in the MoU.

As per the Investment Board Act, hydropower plants of 500 MW and above come under the board’s purview.

MoE Joint Secretary Arjun Kumar Karki said that no matter who takes the responsibility of concluding the deal, the development of the project counts the most.

“After all, the project is of national interest and there is nothing wrong if the Investment Board has the capacity to take ahead the development process of the project,” added Karki, who had signed the MoU on behalf of the government.

It has also slammed the MoE technical team for directly signing the MoU with the Chinese company when they were just assigned to prepare a financial and technical concept for the West Seti.

The committee concluded that authority has been abused by the MoE while signing the deal with the CTGI. It has drawn the government’s attention on this and directed it ensure that such acts should not be repeated.

Published Date: Thursday, March 29th, 2012 | 06:21 PM

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