IBN, ministry told to find common ground – West Seti hydel project

West-SetiKATHMANDU, MAR 18 – The Agriculture and Water Resource Committee (AWRC) of the Legislature Parliament on Tuesday directed the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) to hold a discussion with all concerned stakeholders, including the Ministry of Energy, and come up with a common viewpoint regarding the construction of 750 MW West Seti Hydropower Project within a month.

This is the second such directive that the committee has issued in six months. As the rift widens between the IBN and the ministry, the parliamentary committee summoned the officials of the two government agencies on Tuesday and directed them to come up with a common idea.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Energy Minister Radha Gyawali informed the committee that the project’s memorandum of understanding (MoU)should be reviewed before taking further steps to prevent any possible controversies. Clarifying that the ministry is not against the project, Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri stressed the need to make a few fundamental changes to the MoU. “The MoU has several technical issues which need sorted out,” Kshatri said.

But IBN CEO Radhesh Pant said the MoU is an initial workout of the project, adding that contentious issues in the document could be sorted out when the two parties sit for the formal negotiation on the Project Development Agreement (PDA).

“Even if things go as per the plan, the PDA will take over a year,” Pant said. “The issues of free power, making the project compatible for domestic consumption as well as export can be discussed in the course of time.”

Almost all the lawmakers have stressed the need for expediting the project. “Projects like West Seti are the need of the hour. The onus lies on the IBN and the ministry to reach a common ground to complete the project in time,” said lawmaker Amrit Kumar Bohara.

Source : eKantipur