Marsyangdi on German talks agenda

Kathmandu, November 20:

A bilateral development consultation between Nepal and Germany scheduled through November 26-30 will review the status of ongoing German-funded projects here with a focus on the 70 megawatt Middle Marsyangdi project.

“This is a consultation meeting, which takes place once every two years, to review the ongoing projects and identify new areas for development cooperation,” said an under secretary at the Foreign Aid Coordination Division at the Ministry of Finance. He said the meeting would concentrate on the projects’ progress, and Middle Marsyangdi would be a central agenda. The last meeting was held in 2004.

According to a source at Middle Marsyangdi Project Office, the concerned officials today went to the Nepal Electricity Authority to discuss the problems faced by the project. The project is already three years behind schedule, and is expected to be completed only by the end of 2007. On the other hand, the total project cost has gone up from the estimated Rs 13 billion to over Rs 26 billion.

The bilateral consultation will review other German funded projects in the areas of health, local development, industry, and science and technology. The German delegation, headed by Wolfgang Kanera, the Head of the South Asia Division of the German Federal Ministry for Development Cooperation and Assistance, is arriving in Kathmandu on November 26. According to Tanka Lal Shrestha, an official at the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Kathmandu, the meeting will largely focus on “monitoring and reviewing

the ongoing projects” and also identifying possibilities of new projects.

Asked if there were any probability of Germany coming up with development aid in any new field in the changed context of Nepal, Shrestha said, “The government of Nepal should identify its priority for the Germany to think about any new projects.” So far, Germany has not pledged any separate financial assistance for the peace process of Nepal.

The Nepali delegation will be led by the Finance Secretary Vidhyadhar Mallick and the joint secretaries from the ministries of Health, Water Resources, Local Development, Industry Commerce and Supply and Foreign Affairs. Head of the Foreign Aid and Cooperation Division at the Finance Ministry, Dr Madhav Ghimire, and under secretaries at the ministries would also attend the meeting.

The Ministry of Finance had recently held a meeting with donors seeking assistance of more than Rs 5 billion to be spent for constructing seven designated cantonments for disarmament and rehabilitation of the armed personnel of the Maoists; for rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced People; to strengthen the police administration for enhancing internal security, and for holding the elections to the constituent assembly.