Govt decides to develop Budhigandaki hydel project in company model

KATHMANDU: After years of ups and downs in the development modality of Budhigandaki Hydropower Project, the government has decided to advance this national pride project in a company model.

The new company will have a seven-member board of directors including three from the government comprising Energy Secretary and two joint secretaries each from the Energy Ministry and Finance Ministry, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and an independent board of directors. The tenure of the board of directors will be five years.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held Tuesday took such a decision on this reservoir-based project with the capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW) at the proposal of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation (MoEWRI).

The project was stalled for a long time due to delayed decision whether to construct the project with domestic investment or give it to some foreign companies.

A French company handed over the detailed project report of Budhigandaki in 2014. Since then, the government has distributed almost Rs 40 billion in compensation for the land acquisition.

Previously, Chinese company Gezhouba had held the project for a long time.

Speaking at the National Assembly meeting on Monday, Minister for Energy Pampha Bhusal said the government was working to construct this hydel project in a company model.

Likewise, the authorised capital of the company will be worth Rs 60 billion and will be converted into 600 million units of general share. The issued capital of the company will be worth Rs 20 billion.

The Finance Ministry will have 25% of the total shares of the company while Energy Ministry will have 40% of the company’s share.

The NEA will hold 14% of the share and Vidhyut Utpadan Company Limited (VUCL) will get 1% share in the company.

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