Budhigandaki Hydropower Project Must be Built with Nepali Investment: Bishwaprakash Sharma

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Kathmandu — Nepali Congress General Secretary BishwaPrakash Sharma has stated that the Budhigandaki Hydropower Project should be constructed with Nepali investment. He emphasized that the government should complete the project with investments from Nepalese both at home and abroad.

Speaking at Sunday’s House of Representatives session during the discussion on the allocated budgets for the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, and the Ministry of Finance, General Secretary Sharma expressed that it would be appropriate to complete the project with investments from Nepalese both within and outside the country. He stated that this would also send the message, “Nepal is being built with my participation.”

Sharma stated that to convey the message that Nepal can progress and is moving towards a brighter direction, the government should not delay the construction of the 1,200 MW project.

“In the context of constructing the Budhigandaki project, we are all united—government and opposition alike. Rising above all biases and involving all Nepalese at home and abroad in this project will convey the message that Nepal can be built, is being built, and is moving towards a brighter direction with our participation. The government must succeed in this endeavor,” Sharma said. “Budhigandaki is a project that is widely discussed among us.” In previous budgets, we have also mentioned constructing Budhigandaki. We talk about building it, but with what funds? One option we considered was using foreign funds. If it were only about electricity production, it wouldn’t make much difference to involve foreigners. But this is a multipurpose project. First, there’s the matter of 1,200 megawatts of electricity. Second, irrigation on thousands of hectares. Third, water for drinking. Fourth, tourism. As an auxiliary project, fish farming. If we don’t give it to foreign companies, another option is to take loans from abroad.

Chief Minister Sharma mentioned the possibility of considering foreign loans. He noted that concessional loans could be pursued if agreed upon. However, he highlighted concerns about countries falling into a debt trap. The construction of Pokhara and Bhairahawa airports, funded by loans, has been a wake-up call for us. Another alternative is to undertake the project independently. The previous administration opted to fund the project through domestic investment. “The government, opposition, and all parties are in agreement on this,” he affirmed.

 

Source: Kantipur