Kathmandu, August 8
The Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-Nepal) has said that it will start implementing its projects from June 30, 2020. It informed that the Nepali government and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), on behalf of the US government, have agreed to start the projects from the said date.
As per the plan, the MCC programme has identified projects under two headings — high-voltage transmission lines and road maintenance — which will be completed by June 29, 2025.
In September last year, Caroline T Nguyen, managing director for Europe, Asia, Pacific and Latin America of MCC, while visiting Nepal, had said the projects are expected to kick off from September this year.
However, citing that the government has been unable to meet the preconditions to implement the projects, MCA-Nepal has said they have extended the date of implementation.
MCA-Nepal had not finalised the exact date previously.
According to Khadga Bahadur Bisht, executive director of MCA-Nepal, the government has been unable to meet the key preconditions to start the projects. The government has managed to fulfil only two preconditions out of the six till date.
The two preconditions that the government has fulfilled are the declaration of the Electricity Transmission Project as a national pride project and the passage of the legislation to create an Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The preconditions related to the ratification of the Compact agreement by the Parliament; signing of the project implementation agreement and the completion of a plan in agreement with the government of India for the cross-border transmission line from Butwal to Gorakhpur of India have not been fulfilled yet.
The other precondition that is still to be fulfilled is the site access to all project construction sites with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval and significant progress on land acquisition and forest clearance.
The MCA-Nepal informed that two preconditions have already been met and there has been substantial progress made on three other conditions.
The drafting and approval of the EIA and completion of proper land acquisition and forest clearance to finally obtain site access is currently progressing well.
Similarly, it has said the progress on detailed design work, finalisation of transmission line alignment, and tendering as well as planning of contractor selection process is satisfactory.
MCA-Nepal has said the processes are carried out for implementation to begin immediately after the declaration of the implementation date, which was announced today.
As per MCA-Nepal, the project will construct 313-kilometre-long 400 kVA high-voltage transmission lines and three high-capacity substations, including building 1,039 transmission line towers across the alignment.
Similarly, the programme will build different road projects with a total length of 305 kilometres. The projects will be implemented through the use of cutting-edge technology from the United States.
Sanjay Poudyal, deputy country director (Nepal) of MCC, has said Nepal has obtained a remarkable score in the implementation of the programme.
“We are working in close coordination with the government of Nepal for the execution of the programme and we are committed to complete both the projects within the stipulated timeframe.”
Earlier, the government and MCC had identified 400 kVA high voltage transmission lines, including Lapsifedi-Damauli, Galchi-Hetauda, Damauli-Sunwal-India border as projects to be executed under the MCC programme.
Likewise, upgradation works of different road projects, including Mechi Highway, Koshi Highway, Sagarmatha Highway, Tribhuvan Rajpath and Amelia-Tulsipur section, will also be carried out under the MCC.
The grant assistance worth $500 million under the compact programme will be mobilised for execution of the said projects in energy and road (transportation), namely, electricity transmission project (ETP) and road maintenance project (RMP), while the government will contribute $13 million. As per a provision in the agreement, the projects must be executed within five years or else MCC will withdraw the assistance.
A version of this article appears in print on August 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.