Congress, CPN-MC differ on Budhigandaki project modality

  • Foreign Minister Mahat demands adequate discussion on the issue

Kathmandu, April 20

Differences have surfaced between the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist Centre over the modality for developing the Budhigandaki Hydroelectric Project.

At today’s Cabinet meeting, Energy Minister Janardan Sharma proposed pushing forward at least a dozen hydropower projects, including the 1,200 megawatts Budhigandaki, on ‘company model’.

However, Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat rejected the proposal and reiterated that decision on such key projects should not be taken in haste.

Minister Mahat demanded adequate discussion on the issue among ruling parties before taking any decision.

Mahat, who is a former energy minister, told The Himalayan Times that he had sought discussion on Minister Sharma’s proposal before taking any decision. He said Sharma came up with the proposal of taking ahead at least a dozen hydropower projects, including the Budhigandaki and Nalsingad projects.

“We have not said that these projects can’t be moved ahead on company model,” Minister Mahat told THT, referring to his party’s view. “However, that there should be adequate discussion among the ruling parties before taking a decision on issues that might have larger consequences for the country in the long-run.”

Minister Mahat said not all dozen projects could developed by the government and private investment should be sought to develop some of them.

A source close to Minister Sharma said the proposal was initially tabled in the Cabinet for endorsement three months ago and put on agenda at least five times. Nevertheless, it was stuck there due to reservation from Nepali Congress ministers.

“We are surprised why the Nepali Congress and Minister Mahat are posing obstacles,” the source quoted Minister Sharma as saying.