Nepal eager to develop energy cooperation with China: Minister Pun

KATHMANDU, 5 June  (Xinhua) — The Nepali government has strong desire to explore its energy potentials especially in water resources by attracting investment from China, a senior minister told Xinhua.

The remark of Barsha Man Pun, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation follows widespread concerns raised about possible negative impact on Chinese investment after the government announced on May 29 in its its annual budget for the next fiscal year 2018-19 that the West Seti project would be developed with domestic resources.

The 750MW West Seti Hydropower Project in the Far-western Nepal was handed over to the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) in 2012.

Likewise, in November last year, the previous government cancelled the deal with another Chinese company — China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) signed to develop the 1200MW Budhigandaki Hydropower Project, citing “instructions issued by parliamentary committees.”

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua last week, minister Pun clarified that Nepal has not yet cancelled the deal with CTGC, “the West Seti project is still at the hand of CTGC and we are ready to continue with CTGC if it is eager to develop this project.”

Before the Nepali’s government’s announcement, the negotiation between the two sides had stuck on a few issues including power purchase rate. The Chinese company had termed the power purchase rate offered by Nepal unfeasible but Nepal refused to make revision, according to Nepali officials.

As far as Budhigandaki Hydropower Project is concerned, the minister told Xinhua that the present government wants cooperation with China to develop this project despite scrapping of the deal by the previous government.

“We are willing to develop this project in cooperation with China either in the form of government to government cooperation mechanism or by taking soft loans from China,” he said.

Despite the decision to develop these projects with its own resources, Pun admitted that Nepal can’t develop these mega projects without overseas investment or loan, “we are exploring the options.”

Pun said that he was enthusiastic about the possible surge of Chinese investment in Nepal’s energy sector despite setback in these two cases.

He disclosed that his ministry had recently prepared a list which include 7 big hydropower projects, 6 transmission line projects that Nepal hopes to develop with Chinese grant, loan or under the Belt and Road Initiative.

 

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