Nepal Today

Monday, June 24, 2013

THREE FINANCE INSTITUTIONS TO MERGE Kathmandu, 25 June: A special meeting of the Manakamana Development Bank Monday approved a proposal to merge with Infrastructure Development Bank, Yeti Finance and Valley Finance. The merged bank hopes to upgrade itself to a commercial bank. nnnn DESPERATE NEPALIS TRY TO LOCATE MISSIING IR LOVED ONES IN UTTERKHAND Kathmandu, 25 June: Relatives of Nepali pilgrims missing in the Uttarakhand flooding in India have flocked to places like Dehradun, Haridwar and Rishikesh in search of their lost kin, Devendra Bhattarai writes in The Kathmandu Post from Dehradun in Utterkand.. . At least 300 Nepalis are missing in the June 16 flood and landslides that struck India’s northern state, which is home to four famous Hindu pilgrimage sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Pranil Thapa of Kathmandu has arrived in Rishikesh, searching for his 59-year-old mother, Tara. He stood outside the Rescue Coordination Centre until late Monday evening, scanning the crowd intently, hoping if his mother would show up. His mother was part of a 14-member team of pilgrims that had left for Uttarakhand on June 5. Only seven members from the team returned home last week. The whereabouts of the remaining seven, including his mother, are unknown. “The last I talked with her was on June 16. The same night, the Dharmashala she was lodged in was hit by the flood. I have not given up hope yet,” said Pranil. Bimala Pandey of Kapilvastu, who had gone to Kedarnath with her 63-year-old husband Ashutosh Kumar, was alone when she returned home. Their son, Alok Kumar, said he lost communication with his parents in the wake of the flooding. “Mother arrived home safely, but there is no information about my father. They must have got separated somewhere on their way back,” he said. Alok Kumar has sent pictures and information of his father to the Uttarakhand State Emergency and Operation Centre and the security agencies involved in the search and rescue. Nirajan Poudel, who is in Rishikesh in search of his 63-year-old mother, Ramkala, said the two communicated two days before the flooding. “She and some others had completed the tour of Haridwar and Rishikesh and headed towards the upper region. That’s the only thing I know of her whereabouts,” Poudel said. “At this point of time, there is very little chance that we will find the missing ones safe and sound,” said Suryabikram Shahi, chairman of the Dehradun-based Gorkha Democratic Front. As of now, 12 Nepali pilgrims have been confirmed dead in the flood. Nnnn CHINESE CONRACTOR SEEKS MORE TIME TO COMPLETE TRISHILI POWER PROJECT Kathmandu, 25 June: Ten days after the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) asked the Upper Trishuli 3A Project to complete construction within the set deadline, its contractor, China Gezhouba Group Co, has sought additional time for the completion of the 60MW project, Ashok Thapa writes in The Kathmandu Post. The contractor made such a proposal during a tripartite meeting between the NEA, project consultant Northwest Hydro Consulting Engineers and China Gezhouba on Monday. China Gezhouba Project Manager Wang Ziyang, however, did not mention how much time it needed. At the meeting, the Chinese contractor pledged to present a detailed work plan to the NEA mentioning the date by which project would be completed after consultations with the project consultant. “The China Gezhouba project manager asked for additional time committing to complete the project by then,” said NEA Managing Director Rameshwor Yadav. “Gezhouba, however, did not mention how much additional time it needed.” The project is already behind the schedule, with only 22 percent work completed. After scrapping the project’s capacity upgradation decision, the NEA on June 14 had directed the project to ensure its completion within the deadline — May 2014 — and to furnish a detailed work schedule. This is not the first time that China Gezhouba has asked for an extension of the deadline. It had been pressing the NEA for the revision of the deadline to February, 2016, claiming it could not initiate construction due to NEA’s delay in handing over the project site. It had also been lobbying for the capacity upgradation of the project. Project Director Gopal Babu Bhattarai said there had been some delay in handing over the project site in the beginning. Yadav said NEA will take a final decision on China Gezhouba’s request for deadline extension after holding talks with the project consultant and analysing various other factors. “We may provide additional time only for the period of the delay caused by the government or the NEA,” he said. During the meeting, China Gezhouba’s Wang asked the NEA to take a final decision on its compensations claims. The Chinese company has been seeking Rs 7 billion in compensation for the delay in handing over the project site and obstruction by locals. However, Bhattarai said the project consultant has already termed the compensation claim “invalid”, and that the government is not liable to fulfil the demand. “Even if the contractor is not happy with the consultant’s decision, it should approach the dispute settlement committee as per the contractual norms,” he said. nnnn


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