Nepal and China to sign hydel project JV

Friday, June 15th, 2018 | | Politics

Jun 15, 2018-Private firms from Nepal and China would sign a joint venture pact to build 1,000MW hydroelectricity plant during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China, starting June 19.

Energy and railway pacts would be key gains for Nepal during the PM’s visit.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference on Thursday, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali said, “The PM’s visit will push ahead Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity from China to Nepal and executing past accords.”

The parties will sign agreements after delegation-level talks between PM Oli and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on June 20.

Butwal Power Company Limited (BPC) has signed deals with three Chinese companies to develop Marsyangdi cascade 1,000MW hydropower project, the minister said.

The Chinese companies are Sichuan Provincial Investment Group (SCIG), Chengdu Xingcheng Investment Group (CXIG), both state-owned, and private firm Qing Yuan Consulting Co (QYEC).

The JV will begin with the Lower Manang Marsyangdi Hydroelectric Project with initial output of 100MW.

The JV aims to add up to 1,000MW to Nepal’s electricity grid in the next five years with an investment of up to $3 billion. The Nepal Electricity Authority and China’s State Grid Company will sign an agreement on the cross-border connectivity.

Other agreements to be signed during the PM’s visit are survey of Kerung-Kathmandu railway and preparing its detailed project report (DPR) and construction of ‘Nepal-China Friendly Bridge’ at Tatopani, Sindhupalchok; and Rasuwagadhi-Kerung that was damaged by the earthquake in 2015. China has assured it would hand over the bridge after construction in May 2019, said Gyawali. “The Tatopani trading point will resume operations after we complete repairs and maintenance works.”

The parties would sign protocol on opening eight border points in Nepal and China borders that would link with Tibetan Highways to transport goods to Nepali citizens near the northern border.

The border points are Uripasa in Bajhang, Rasuwagadhi in Rasuwa, Tinker in Darchula, Tiplapasa in Taplejung and Hilsa in Humla, Kimathanka, Korola and Nagcha (Mugu).

“The visit aims to take the bilateral relations to a new high. We are focused on executing 10-point framework agreements signed during PM Oli’s previous visit in 2016 and exploring new areas of cooperation,” said Minister Gyawali.

Regarding China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Minister Gyawali said, “We have our priorities and we would consider aid or loan. I do not believe debt trap is always bad as some people suggest,” he said, questioning veracity of the reports on debt trap about projects funded by China in some countries.