KATHMANDU, July 17: Ruling coalition partner CPN (Maoist Center) has proposed to request Chinese government to build hydropower projects having combined capacity of 5,000 MW in any river basin in Built and Transfer (BT) model.
The proposal comes less than one and half months since the government led by the party's Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal signed an agreement to award the Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project (1200 MW) to a Chinese state-owned company on EPCF (engineering, procurement, construction and financing) model.
The sudden and surprising decision to award the project to China Gezhouba Group Corp had drawn flak from all quarters with many claiming that the decision to award the project, which was being implemented by a state-owned entity, without any competition was an act of policy corruption.
Endorsing its policy paper on Water Resources and Energy on Monday, the party unveiled a plan to build different the hydropower plants in a fast-track mode or seek line of credit of US$ 20 billion (approximately Rs 2,060 billion) for the next ten years to build hydropower and irrigation projects.
The party has also said that the line of credits could be taken from different countries including China. The party has not mentioned the name of India for soft loans.
The 88-page policy paper prepared by a team led by Lilamani Pokharel, the in-charge of the party's Water Resources and Energy Department, focuses on mobilizing internal resources to build hydropower of at least 500 MW. It has also proposed to award hydropower plants having capacity of up to 100 MW to the Nepali private sector.
CPN (Maoist Center) Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal endorsed the document amid a function held at the party headquarters on Monday.
The policy document also has populist programs like distributing shares of hydropower projects to each Nepali, and allowing cooperatives to invest in hydropower projects.
Taking a leaf from the Indian blockade of 2015, the party has also suggested taking a number of policy measures for ensuring energy security. “Nepal should diversify its petroleum supplier mix, ending the current practice of importing only from India, and also build storage capacity that can meet domestic of at least three months,” the policy document states Likewise, it has proposed to build power transmission line along the Rasuwagadhi-Kerung trade route and sigh Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with China as well.
The party has taken an approach of becoming self-sufficient in energy by generating more electricity in the short-term and medium-term, and generating needful energy to boost economic activities in the long-term. It is also for introducing programs to use electricity for household cooking, and operating electric trains, trams and vehicles, among others.
“The government should waive off tax on import of equipment that can substitute import of LPG, and implement a seasonal and time of day tariff to encourage use of electricity at home,” reads the policy paper.
This is the first time that a political party has come up with a comprehensive document focusing solely on energy.
The policy also states that the government should seek downstream benefits from reservoir type hydropower projects like Budhigandaki and Upper Seti. Similarly, it proposes forming a high-level committee among Nepal, India and Bangladesh to discuss modalities of sharing benefits from common rivers.