China’s CGGC visits Budhigandaki project site

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    China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), which recently bagged the contract to build 1,200MW Budhigandaki Hydropower Project, has started conducting a fresh study to build the largest hydro project in the country.

    A 10-member team led CGGC Country Director Yuan Zhixiong visited Salang in Dhading on Monday and Aarughat in Gorkha on Tuesday. The project is spread over Dhading and Gorkha districts.

    The Chinese team also comprises of technical experts who were involved in the process of developing the Three Gorges hydro project in China that generates 22,500MW of hydroelectricity, according to CGGC Public Relations Officer Om Bandhu Karki.

    The team, on Tuesday, visited the sites in Gorkha district that are likely to be inundated by the project. The team also visited the sites where power house and dam will be built.

    The team, which includes geologists and water resource experts, among others, is currently holding discussions on project design, Karki said, adding, it is also reviewing the project design prepared by French company Tractebel. The team, however, has not held discussions with locals who will be affected by the project.

    According to Karki, CGGC will be using detailed project report (DPR) prepared by the French company to build the project after making some changes. “CGGC is planning to hold a meeting with government officials to make amendments to the DPR,” said Karki.

    Yuan said domestic human and other resources will be given priority while developing the mega hydropower project. He further said CGGC will upgrade access road to the dam site; build permanent bridge over Trishuli River; and provide residence facility to technicians and workers employed by the project. The project is expected to generate employment opportunities to an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 locals.

    The government in the first week of June sealed a deal with CGGC for development of the mega hydroelectric project, without conducting international bidding.

    As per the agreement, the storage project would be built under engineering, procurement, construction and finance (EPCF) model. Under this model, CGGC will help arrange funds required to develop the project.

    The funds will be mobilised in the form of soft loan or commercial loan from Chinese financial institutions on terms and conditions acceptable to the Nepal government. CGGC will also undertake the overall responsibility of executing the project. The agreement has given one year’s time to the Chinese developer to conduct assessment of the hydropower project and arrange necessary funds for its development.

    CGGC is currently building 30MW Chameliya Hydropower Project in the far west and 60MW Upper Trishuli 3A Hydropower Project in the central region. The Budhigandaki Project has been touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country.

    The government has allocated a budget of Rs5.33 billion for the project’s development in the current fiscal year. The government has been raising infrastructure tax of Rs5 from sales of every litre of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel to collect funds to build the project.

    The project is presently acquiring land from locals of Dhading and Gorkha districts. The district administration offices of Dhading and Gorkha-the project affected districts-are currently extending compensation to owners of the land required for the construction of the project.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post