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Nepal Parliament gives go-ahead for Chinese firm's $1.6 bln dam project

Kathmandu, Tue, 03 Apr 2012 ANI

Kathmandu, Apr 3 (ANI): Nepal's lawmakers have reportedly given the green signal to a Chinese state-owned company's 1.6 billion dollars hydroelectric-power project.

MPs in Nepal had earlier raised concerns that the government had awarded the contract to 'China Three Gorges' without opening it up to international bidding.

his prompted the Chinese company to threaten in a letter to the government in March that it would scrap the project and pull the plug on its investment unless things moved forward.

Shanta Chaudhary, head of the parliamentary committee on natural resources, said the committee had decided to approve the project, providing China Three Gorges Corp. meets some criteria, which include routing the investment through the country's newly formed Nepal Investment Board, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"We have decided that the project should go ahead after due corrections in the agreement between the government and the company," the paper quoted Chaudhary, as saying.

The committee, in a report, found 'serious legal and administrative errors' in the procedures followed by Nepal's Energy Ministry while granting a project license to China Three Gorges.

It said the ministry didn't consult with the finance ministry and other government authorities while taking its decision and deprived the country of maximum benefits that it hoped a competitive bidding process would have brought.

According to the paper, the committee, however, said the project should be implemented nonetheless given Nepal's energy needs and a desire for good relations with China.

The committee directed the government to ensure the similar 'procedural and legal mistakes' aren't repeated in the future.

According to the report, it also advised the government to negotiate so that Nepal's state power utility gets 25 percent in the project, local residents of the project area 10 percent and domestic industrialists and other residents 14 percent. (ANI)

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