Prachanda slams Nepal government for scrapping Budhi Gandaki project

The deal for the USD 2.5 billion Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectric Project in Gorkha and Dhading districts, the biggest hydropower project in the landlocked country facing acute energy crisis, was signed in June.

By: PTI | Kathmandu | Published: November 16, 2017 9:22:05 pm
Former Nepal PM slams government for scrapping Budhi Gandaki project Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ (Source: File/Reuters)

Nepal’s former prime minister and CPN (Maoist Center) chief Prachanda on Thursday criticised the government’s move to scrap a deal with China’s state-owned Gezhouba Group Co Ltd (CGGC) company regarding the 1200 MW Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectricity Project. Speaking at a function in Bharatpur of Chitawan district in southern Nepal, he said Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s government has committed a “mistake” by revoking the deal.

The deal for the USD 2.5 billion Budhi Gandaki Hydroelectric Project in Gorkha and Dhading districts, the biggest hydropower project in the landlocked country facing acute energy crisis, was signed in June.

The project was touted as a key project to resolve the perennial power crisis in the country.

On Monday, a cabinet meeting decided to revoke the decision taken by the erstwhile Prachanda-led government.

“This is a testimony that the government is not working for the country’s economic development and prosperity, but for its parochial political interests,” Prachanda said.

He said it was wrong to revoke the decision taken by the former government as it was done in the presence of the Chinese company and the representatives of the government of China as well.

“In the context of Nepal, Budhi Gandaki, which has been recognised as a national pride project, is an extremely ambitious project. The success of this project could have heralded economic revolution in the country,” Prachanda said.

He also said that his party was not consulted before the decision, though they are also in the cabinet.

Nepal’s hydropower potential has been estimated to be around 84,000 MW, of which 43,000 MW has been identified as economically viable. Currently, Nepal’s installed hydropower capacity is just 753 MW, according to the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

In February 2016, the Nepal government had declared 2016–26 as the ‘national energy crisis reduction and electricity development decade’ with ambitious targets to end the current power shortages within three years and to spearhead further development in the hydropower sector, the UK-based IHA said.

At present the total supply of electricity to Nepal from India is about 400 MW.

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