Kathmandu, March 15
The government is preparing to revive the ambitious Budhigandaki hydropower project. However, it is highly likely that the China Gezhouba Group Company will not be given the contract.
In a bid to revive the project, the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation has assigned the NEA Engineering Company under the Nepal Electricity Authority to update cost estimation.
In the mid-2010s, the estimated cost of the project was Rs 311 billion (approximately USD 2.593 billion). Now, the government wants to calculate the cost again considering changes in the market prices of construction materials since then.
Once the estimation will be over, the ministry will make another decision about the future of the Budhigandaki hydropower project, and it will deprive the Chinese company of the contract.
In November 2017, the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government had decided to cancel the contract signed with the China Gezhouba Group Company. The government, then, had announced to construct the project on its own. However, following the parliamentary elections the next year, new prime minister KP Sharma Oli had decided to give it back to the Chinese company.
But, now again, it is highly likely that the government will develop a new investment model for the Budhigandaki hydropower project, in which both the government and the private sectors chip in their shares.