Three Gorges concerned about rehab of displaced – West Seti hydel project

West-SetiKATHMANDU, MAR 16 – China Three Gorges Corpor-ation (CTGC), which has been given responsibility of developing the 750MW West Seti Hydropower Project, has exp-ressed concerns about issues related to market access and transmission lines, and soug-ht the government’s help in rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced people.

CTGC Chairman Lu Chun, who is currently on a Nepal visit, expressed these concerns during his meeting with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Sunday, according to Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat who was present in the meeting. CWE Investment Company, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges, has forwarded a foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal worth $1.5 billion to the Investment Board of Nepal (IBN).

In Sunday’s meeting, the Prime Minister urged the Chinese side to expedite the project development and invest in other projects too. “Stating Nepal’s investment climate has improved, Koirala urged the company to increase investment in other infrastructure projects as well.”

He added the government assured its support to the Chinese company. “They want the government to help in resettlement and rehabilitation process. We have assured them full support,” Mahat said. The 11-member Chinese team will wrap up the Nepal visit on Monday.

Lu told the meeting that a top-level study team from the company would soon come to Nepal to hold study on the project’s execution.

IBN CEO Radhes Pant said the visit of the CTGC chairman was an indication that the company was serious to develop the project. “Their more focus was on the resettlement issue. As the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the company has a provision that the government should help in this issue, we have to do that.”   CWE had signed the MoU with IBN in August 2012.

The Chinese delegate on Sunday also met Energy Minister Radha Gyawali. According to Keshav Dhwoj Adhikari, joint secretary and the spokesperson at the Energy Ministry, the company’s delegation expressed the same aforementioned concerns during the meeting.  “They asked the government to take initiation in the resettlement process. But since it is a commercial project, we said the government can facilitate to some extent. The company should take the primary responsibility.”

CTGC was of the view a foreign private company could not take lead in such an issue. On the transmission line issue, the Energy Ministry told the Chinese team the government was preparing the Nepal-India Cross Border Transmission Intercon-nection Master Plan.

Source : eKantipur