Government scraps controversial Budhigandaki agreement with Chinese company

File image: Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma (l) exchanges an agreement with the representative of Gezhouba Group for the construction of Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project, in Kathmanndu, on Sunday, June 4, 2017.

Kathmandu, November 13

The government on Monday decided to scrap the controversial agreement signed with the Chinese company, Gezhouba Group, for the construction of Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project.

A Cabinet meeting held this morning made the decision, informs Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Energy Kamal Thapa.

Thapa says the agreement, signed “irregularly and imprudently”, was scrapped owing to directives of various parliamentary committees.

After the government decision today, the fate of ambitious project has once again been pushed into limbo. It has been learned that the Chinese company has already begun an onsite study for the project.

China had considered the project as a part of One Belt One Road upon Nepal’s request.

Earlier, a joint meeting of the Finance Committee and the Agriculture and Water Resource Committee of Parliament in September had told the government to scrap the deal citing the Chinese company was not efficient for the big project.

The Cabinet led by CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on May 23 had decided to handover the assignment to the Chinese firm.

Accordingly, the two sides had signed the agreement on June 4.

Immediately after the agreement, voices had been raised that the deal was against national interests. Former Prime Minister and Naya Shakti leader Baburam Bhattarai had led various movements demanding that the project be constructed by Nepal itself with the domestic investment.

The Chinese company had said it would construct the project in engineering procurement contract with finance (EPCF) model. According to the model, the company itself would make investments in the project, which Nepal would pay back after the construction.

The detailed project report has estimated that the project would cost Rs 250 billion.

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