Work on war footing to develop mega hydro projects: FinMin

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    KATHMANDU, Sept 27:

    fm_meetingMinister for Finance Shankar Prasad Koirala on Friday directed officials of the Nepal Electricity Authority to work in war footing for completing hydropower projects under national priority in time.

    He also assured officials that the government would immediately make available additional Rs 1 billion for national priority projects.

    The government has declared three mega hydropower projects – Upper Tamakoshi, Budhigandaki and West Seti – as national priority projects.

    Minister Koirala also said the government would also remove policy hurdles that are hampering implementation of these projects. He the government would sort out problems like providing compensation for land to locals to expedite implementation of mega projects.

    “For effective implementation of load-shedding minimization program, we plan to bring down customs duty on import of products for projects being developed by Nepali developers to one percent,” he added.

    Source : Republica

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    Govt assures funds to expedite work on power projects

    KATHMANDU, SEP 28 –

    The Finance Ministry on Friday assured the Nepal Electricity Authority ( NEA ) it would provide the necessary budget to accelerate work on hydropower and transmission line projects falling under the national pride project category.

    Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala committed to make available additional funds, up to Rs 1 billion, for conducting preliminary works while developing hydropower and transmission line projects. During the meeting with the Ministry of Energy and the NEA officials, Koirala committed to make available even more funds if required.

    As donors’ money is also involved in the budgetary allocation for the power sector, but such money cannot be used for the compensation of land acquisition, the minister assured additional funds for preparatory works.

    The minster also assured provisions, taking just 1 percent value added tax for the construction materials used in the hydropower projects. Giving top priority to energy, the government allotted a whopping Rs 30 billion for the development of both power generation and transmission lines in the current fiscal year’s budget.

    Even though the budget has allocated a huge sum for the energy sector, the NEA has not been able to accelerate desired works due to preliminary problems, like land acquisition.

    “If the government cannot allocate adequate funds for such preliminary works, no matter how much is ensured by the budget, they go unspent,” said a finance ministry official.

    The minster also asked the MoE and the NEA officials not to be passive in carrying out works due to obstructions created by the forest authorities and local level problems, and not to be hesitant to add more money for the compensation of land acquired to carry out the works of the transmission lines.

    The Finance Ministry sources said the ministry has already released Rs 220 million of the total amount committed in the budget for the NEA to take up the projects. “After the NEA complained of a budget crunch to begin basic works, especially land acquisition, the Finance Minister has committed to manage additional funds required for the purpose,” Madhu Marasaini, joint secretary at the ministry said.

    The Finance Minister also demanded the NEA projects should be accomplished on the fixed time, according to Keshav Dhoj Adhikary, joint secretary at the MoE, quoting minister Koirala.

    The minister also assured that the National Planning Commission, concerned ministries and other government agencies would explore ways to resolve the principle, practical and procedural problems that might arise during the project work.

    The Finance Secretary Santa Raj Subedi stressed the need for construction of the transmission line projects, and also suggested that the NEA should spend an additional amount if required for the compensation of lands.

    He also urged the NEA officials to implement the government’s programme to reduce load shedding problems.

    At the interaction, the NPC Vice Chairman Rabindra Shakya recommended the short term projects be initiated as to minimise power woes. He underlined the need to use an alternate way to resolve the problems.

    Source : The Republica