The Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) can now proceed ahead with the West Seti Hydropower Project, one of the much-talked-about projects in the country.
The bodies concerned of late have agreed in principle for resolving problems seen regarding the project which lies in the Far Western Development Region.
The Board has received a letter from bodies concerned including the ministries of energy, finance, land reform and management informing that agreement in principle has been reached to resolve the local-level problems in connection with the project.
The letter has paved the way for the IBN for holding negotiations with investors about the matters of accelerating the project.
The IBN is expected to gear up for necessary preparations for investment agreement and talks with the investing company side by side. The Chinese Three Gorges Corporation is the main investor of the 750-megawatt-project.
Construction of transmission line, rehabilitation of the people of project-affected area and power purchase agreement are the matters of concern of Corporation, according to Board Joint Secretary Mukunda Poudel. The Board assured the company that it would present the matters raised by the company before the stakeholders concerned and seek solutions to all problems through discussions.
The Nepal Government and the Chinese investor last year agreed in principle to proceed with the project works. The preliminary feasibility study of project had begun around 20 years ago by the Australian company Snowy Mountain.
But, following no progress in the study process, the government annulled the license of the Australian company and moved to the IBN to expedite the project works. Doti, Dadeldhura, Bajhang and Bajura are the most affected areas from the project.
The project has been delayed due to several issues associated with the project including the resettlement plan for the project-affected, land acquisition, power purchase agreement rate for the project and transmission line.
The estimated cost of the reservoir-type project is around Rs. 200 billion. Of the total cost, the Nepal Government will bear 25 per cent and remaining 75 per cent will be invested by the Three Gorges.
Around 10 per cent shares of project will be allocated to the locals. Where and how to resettle the people to be displaced by the project has been the matters of debate for a long time.
The Ministry of Land Reform and Management has given verbal commitment to make necessary arrangements for the resettlement of the affected people. The Ministry of Land Reform will present a draft of rehabilitation plan, Joint Secretary Poudel said.
The project is expected to begin from 2014 and complete by 2020 and help promote drinking water, irrigation and tourism sectors, especially in the far-west, according to RSS.