West Seti MoU to be implemented: Govt, Go-ahead from House Committee to Three Gorges likely next week

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Energy today assured the China Three Gorges International Corporation that the Memorandum of Understanding on construction of West Seti Hydro project would be implemented.

The CTGIC had sought the government’s take on the decision of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Means that had stopped work on West-Seti until the committee’s final decision.

“They inquired about the status and mentioned this was not a good start as rounds of discussions had been held before signing the MoU and such unnecessary hurdles would affect project implementation,” said Arjun Bahadur Karki, Joint Secretary and Spokesperson, MoE.

The CTGIC had written to the government last week seeking information on the fate of the MoU the government had signed with CTGIC on February 29 to construct the 750 MW West Seti hydro project.

Karki said the ministry had prepared the letter to be sent to CTGIC on Monday, saying that the parliamentary committee is yet to take a final decision and the ministry is hopeful it will not be against project implementation. “We have told them not to worry and prepare for field work to be conducted very soon,” said Karki.

According to parliamentary committee sources, most members of the sub-committee formed to study the MoU have agreed to give the go-ahead to the project. “We were not against West Seti construction, but we wanted the government to make the project fair and transparent,” said a member of the committee preferring anonymity.

The source added that the meeting of the sub-committee would ask for one more week to finalise the study and come up with recommendations. “We have found some flaws in the MoU and we will recommend the government to improve on them if possible but we are not against Chinese investment and were never against West-Seti project,” added a member of the committee.

The committee had earlier directed the ministry not to implement the MoU for 10 days and said a decision would be taken on how to move further, but a source at the committee said they could not finish the work within the specified time and would ask for a week’s time.

“If this project is halted or disturbed it will send the message that investment in Nepal is not yet safe and it will be very hard for any other company to go for West Seti,” said Karki. The total cost of West Seti is $1.6 billion and it is expected to be completed by 2019.RAMESH PRASAD BHUSHAL THT

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