On 22 December 2019, MCA-Nepal organized a press meet to appeal the Parliament for timely ratification of the MCC Nepal Compact. The meet coincided with the starting week of the winter session of the House of Representatives. Mr. Khadga B. Bisht, the Executive Director of MCA-Nepal gave an overview of the organization and the status of the Compact. He highlighted the need for urgent ratification stressing upon the fact that it was Government of Nepal’s decision to send the Compact for Parliamentary ratification after a well-thought legal opinion and thorough consideration by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
He also informed the media that all MCC Compacts worldwide are implemented only after a Parliamentary ratification and 17 other countries where the compact is being/ has been implemented have received parliamentary ratification. Parliamentary ratification and site access are the two major remaining conditions that will be required to ensure Nepal can access the funds allocated to implement the program on time. Expressing commitment to complete the program within the five years time frame, Mr. Bisht mentioned, “We are in the final stage of preparatory works required for the implementation of our projects.” Mr. Bisht also delivered a press release in the same event which included updates of the major achievements of MCA-Nepal as highlighted below:
- On 29 September 2019, the Program Implementation Agreement (PIA), one of the Conditions Precedent to the Compact was signed by the Government of Nepal and the MCC, representing the US Government.
- On 30 September 2019, a Compensation Fixation Committee (CFC) was formed in Nuwakot under the Chairmanship of the CDO and the process to form similar committees in other nine districts is ongoing.
- On 15 October 2019, the Governments of Nepal and India agreed to the financing and ownership framework that will govern the implementation of the New Butwal – Gorakhpur cross-border transmission line, which is an integral part of the Nepal compact and a Condition Precedent.
- On 18 and 29 – 30 November, two outreach events in Nepal and India were held to inform potential construction and service providing organizations about upcoming procurement opportunities and to ensure that the best contractors from around the world participate in the global bidding for the construction of the projects.
- From 24 November – 6 December 2019, public hearings, which are a mandatory requirement in finalizing the environmental impact study of project areas were conducted in 30 municipalities of the 10 districts that will be affected by the Electricity Transmission Project. As a result, these 30 municipalities have provided their recommendation to move ahead.
- Local level stakeholder consultations have taken place in all 30 municipalities and district level stakeholder consultations are also being organized. Three district level consultations in Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk and Nawalparasi (Bardaghat-Susta West) have been completed.
- Similarly, detailed design work, finalization of the transmission line alignment, and tendering as well as planning for the contractor selection process is progressing well and will be completed within the next two months so that these processes are carried out on time to allow for implementation phase to begin on 30 June 2020.
The meet ended after a question and answer session with the media. Around 50 journalists took part in the half day event that was organized in Hotel Royal Singi, Kathmandu.