Friday, September 27, 2013

National priority hydro projects to get Rs 1 billion

Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala today directed the officials of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to expedite construction of hydropower projects under national priority in time. “The ministry will immediately provide an additional Rs 1 billion for national priority projects,” he said, talking to the state power utility.
The three mega hydropower projects – Upper Tamakoshi, Budhigandaki and West Seti – are the national priority projects, according to the government.
Koirala also promised to remove any policy hurdles that are blocking the smooth implementation of the projects. “The government, National Planning Commission, and stakeholders will hold discussion, if necessary for expediting the projects,” he said, adding that the projects promoted by the government must be completed in time.
The government is even ready to sort out problems like providing compensation for land to locals and issues with forest to expedite power projects and transmission lines construction.
The country is reeling under the scheduled long hours of power outage due to rising demand and lack of supply. The production costs of industries have gone higher making the local products less competitive also due to their additional cost for fossil fuel to run the industries.
The government is planning to reduce the customs to one per cent on imports of products for hydropower projects for effective and immediate implementation of load-shedding minimisation programme, Koirala added.
National Planning Commission (NPC) vice chair Dr Rabindra Man Shakya, on the occasion, urged the NEA to proceed with the projects that would give immediate result. “Government is ready to help the projects run smoothly,” he added.
If the government solves policy bottlenecks and provide financial support of Rs 1 billion, some four hydropower projects would be completed within one year, said chairman of NEA and energy secretary Bishwa Prakash Pandit.
Finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi and NEA officials were also present in the meeting.

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