Government obtains BRI development proposals

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has received around dozen development proposals from in-line ministries as an initiation to China’s Belt Road Initiative (BRI), authorities informed.

Prioritising the goal of connectivity, proposals related to road, rail, hydropower, transmission line and communication projects have been forwarded to the Ministry of Finance for selection.

“As of now we have received around a dozen proposals from development ministries,” Yug Raj Pandey, Under-secretary at Ministry of Finance said, “The discussions regarding viable projects will be held in-line with the common interest of both Nepal and China.”

According to Pandey, the initiative has entered planning phase and all the necessary discussions will be held in the forthcoming days.

The proposals have prioritised Kyirong-Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini Railway, Kyirong-Kathmandu Highway, Ring Road, Nepal-China transmission line, Sunkoshi Marine Diversion, few drinking water projects and irrigation projects in mid-hill areas.

“The Nepal government and China will decide the projects that need to be undertaken as per the priorities set by China and Nepal,” Pandey said.

Although, Nepal kept the massive $ 1 trillion connectivity project on the table since 2013, a framework agreement was signed during May, 2017. To get the initiative off the ground, officials from both the countries are yet to hold discussions which can only take place after the government selects priority projects.

The BRI is a connectivity project launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 which aims to build bridges across Eurasia and beyond through billion dollar investment in infrastructures. Various international organisations and around 60 countries have signed accords with China making BRI a global-headline-act.