Govt emphasizes hydropower, infrastructure development

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    KATHMANDU, July 14:

    hydro_artThe budget for fiscal year 2013/14, which Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala unveiled on Sunday, has laid emphasis on infrastructure development, including hydropower projects, transmission lines, infrastructure, irrigation projects, and promotion of some export oriented industries.

    Programs to promote foreign investment have also been included in the budget by drafting the Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act.
    The government has added Pashupati Area Development, Lumbini Area Development Trust, President´s Chure Conservation Program, and Bheri-Babai Diversion Projects to the list of national pride projects.

    The government has prioritized public private partnership policy to develop physical infrastructures and increase private sector investment. For this, the government is providing additional resources to the Investment Board Nepal, which has been formed to channelize investments for big projects. It will also enact a law related to special economic zones to support export-oriented industries.

    ENERGY 
    The budget has allocated Rs 30 billion to improve hydropower generation, build transmission lines and enhance distribution system. It has also set aside Rs 1.05 billion for Tanahu Hydropower Project (140 MW) — the second reservoir project in the country. Construction works on the project will begin in 2013/14.
    Similarly, the government has allocated Rs 13.5 billion for construction of north-south corridor transmission line and Dhalkebar-Mujaffarpur and Kataiya-Kushaha cross border transmission lines.
    The government has allocated Rs 4.66 billion for Upper Trishuli 3A (60 MW), Upper Modi (42 MW), Rahughat (32), Chamelia (30MW) and Kulekhani III hydropower projects. It has introduced a program to connect light 125,000 households with solar energy. The government will also provide grants to FM radio stations that are interested to install panels.

    ROADS
    The government has put focus on construction of strategic roads, bridges and the renovation of roads and road safety. It aims to connect the district headquarters of Dolpa and Humla to national road network in the new fiscal year. The government aims to wrap up road expansion drive in the capital win the coming fiscal year. It has allocated Rs 1.81 billion for the purpose.
    A separate transportation safety work plan will be implemented to reduce number of road accidents. Computerized vehicle fitness test centre will be introduced for the scientific test of vehicles in 201/14. Vehicle registration card and drivers´ licenses will be changed into smart cards. Similarly, the government aims to introduce embossed number plates in the new fiscal year.

    Source : Republica

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    KATHMANDU, JUL 15 –

    It is the infrastructure sector that has got the topmost priority in the new budget. Breaking away from tradition, the government has earmarked huge money for infrastructure development with special focus on the energy sector.

    The budget, which aims “massive reforms in generation of hydropower, construction of transmission lines and distribution system”, has earmarked a whopping Rs 30 billion for the energy sector.

    Presenting the budget on Sunday, Finance Minister Shanker Prasad Koirala said Rs 1.5 billion has been earmarked for the construction of 140-MW Tanahun Hydropower Project. “The government will begin the construction of the country’s second reservoir-type project from the next fiscal year,” said Koirala.

    The budget has given special focus on the implementation of government-funded hydropower projects that are currently under construction. The government has set aside Rs 4.66 billion for five government-funded projects — 60-MW Upper Trishuli 3A, 42-MW Upper Modi, 32-MW Rahughat, 30-MW Nalsingadh and 14-MW Kulekhani III.

    Finance Minister Koirala said the government has also allotted adequate funds for initiating the construction of 87-MW Tamakoshi V and 20-MW Budhiganga Hydropower Projects.

    Giving much-needed relief to independent power producers (IPPs), the budget has promised to speed-up the construction of transmission lines. One of the major concerns of IPPs has been the slow progress in transmission line construction. “Construction of transmission lines will be initiated as a campaign,” reads the budget.

    Allocating Rs 13.50 billion, the budget talks of constructing cross-border transmission lines, north-south corridor lines and east-west power lines. Likewise, Rs 1.58 billion has been earmarked to continue construction work on 400-KV Dhalkebar-Mujjaffapur Transmission Line and Kataiya-Kusaha Transmission Line.

    IPPs hailed the budget, saying that the government has shown seriousness towards the energy sector. Subarna Das Shrestha, president of Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN), said the best part “is the promise to allocate more resources for the development of transmission lines”. The allocation of more than Rs 30 billion for the energy sector “itself proves government’s seriousness towards the promotion of the energy sector”, he said.

    In a bid to promote the alternative energy , the budget has promised Rs 1.11 billion for the Solar Energy Programme.

    “This will help generate up to 4,000-KW energy , which can be installed to more than 125,000 low-income households,” said Koirala.

    The budget has also envisioned expanding the solar energy promotion programme in urban areas. “Encouraging the people to use solar energy for domestic purpose, the government will also offer assistance in the installation of solar energy ,” the budget said.

    The budget also continued resource allocation for road and other infrastructure like drinking water. It has allocated Rs 1.81 billion for the road widening in the Kathmandu valley, which will be completed by the next fiscal year.

    And, more than Rs 9 billion has been allocated for two major drinking water projects — Melamchi and Rural Drinking Water Project. With new contractors selected for Melamchi, the government plans to spend Rs 5.40 billion for the project.

    The government has planned to start construction of the East West Railway from next fiscal year, for which it has allocated Rs 1.40 billion. Two major infrastructure projects — Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track and Second International Airport at Nijgadh, Bara — will be developed under public-private partnership model.

    Major Infrastructure Projects

    Projects Allocation

    Mid Hill Highway Rs 1.90 billion

    East-West Railway Rs 1.40 billion

    Melamchi Rs 5.40 billion

    Sikta Irrigation Rs 1.24 billion

    Babai Irrigation Rs 450 million

    KTM road expansion Rs 1.81 billion

    Rural Drinking Water Rs 3.99 billion

    Energy Sector Rs 30 billion

    Transmission lines Rs 13 billion

    Renewable energy Rs 1.11 billion

    Source : Ekantipur