Big Projects in Limbo

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Big Projects in Limbo

August 21: Big projects of the country have remained stalled due to the dilly-dallying of the government in preparing the detailed project report (DPR) and modality of the projects.

Some of the national pride projects like Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project, Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track, Nijgadh International Airport, West Seti Hydropower Project, Karnali-Chisapani Hydropower Project and Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project has not moved ahead due to either delay in preparing DPR or the modality.

The government has already invested Rs 36.2 billion for the Budhi Gandaki project but the construction is nowhere near completion even after seven years of initiating the work due to lack of modality. Out of the total investment made so far, Rs 26.5 billion has been spent for providing compensation to the people displaced by the project.

This project has been affected by political meddling. The then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2017 had granted the project to a Chinese company named Gezhouba. Four months later, a new government led by KP Sharma Oli decided to hand over the project to a company with Nepali holdings.

However, the government has again instructed the Ministry of Energy to start negotiations with the same Chinese company.

Another national pride project – Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track – remains affected due to the delay in approving the DPR by the government. The government has not been able to approve the DPR since the last six months.

This has hampered construction of bridges and tunnels of the fast track, informed Nepalese Army which has been handed the project.

The government is still not clear on which modality to adopt for the construction of Nijgadh International Airport although the Investment Board had approved the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

The much-hyped Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, which is  believed to generate 6,720 megawatts of electricity, is also mired in controversy. Initially, the cost of the project was estimated to be Rs 300 billion but now the estimate has increased to Rs 1500 billion.

Even the Karnali-Chisapani Hydropower Project with capacity of 10,800 megawatts has not moved forward except for the feasibility study.

According to officials at the National Planning Commission, the national pride projects have been stalled due to the random selection.

“The only reason for big projects landing in trouble is the selection criteria,” said Sushil Bhatta, a member of NPC.

“Many projects were selected without proper study,” he added.

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