Panel to find way ahead on West Seti hydro project

The Prime Minister’s Office has formed a committee led by Chief Executive Officer of Investment Board Radhesh Panta to move ahead the work on West Seti Hydro project (750 MW).

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Means had earlier directed that work on West Seti be moved ahead through Investment Board rather than Ministry of Energy. Citing the month-long halt on the project, the PMO formed the committee.

Energy Ministry had signed MoU with China Three Gorges International to construct the hydro project, which became controversial after the parliamentary committee investigated and said there were flaws in the MoU. In its decision the Parliamentary committee had mentioned that the Investment Board should be responsible for project work as the Investment Board Act has been given the mandate of the Board to look into projects with over 500 MW capacity.

The four-member committee formed after consultation with Prime Minister Bhattarai includes the joint secretaries from Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Law.

West Seti is the largest project in the country and it is expected to be completed by 2020 end if works are done as scheduled. The licence of the project was scrapped a few months ago after the Australian Company SMEC failed to arrange funds for sixteen years.

The Energy Ministry then signed the MoU with China Three Gorges International which kicked up a huge debate due to the conflict between Energy Ministry and Parliamentary Natural Resources Committee.

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