Friday, June 15, 2007

Yami to write to ADB today on her terms

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu , June 14[2007]: The Ministry of Physical Planning and Works is writing a "final" letter to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) tomorrow on its stance on the Melamchi Water Supply Project.

"We will write to the ADB tomorrow, requesting it to let the Melamchi project materialise the way we want," Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hisila Yami told this daily today. The ADB headquarters sent a letter to the ministry yesterday, urging Yami to clarify her stance. The ADB also asked the ministry to respond at the earliest so that Nepal's final stance on the project can be discussed at the ADB's board meeting, slated for June 16 in Manila.

The ADB has been asking the government to adhere to what the former government decided ― let the British company, Severn Trent Water International (ST), work ― if it wants the ADB loan for the $500m project.

The ministry has said it will accept the ADB loan if the government chooses any other means of institutional reformation for distribution of water in the valley, except the handover of the operation of valley's water distribution system to the ST.

Ruling out the "comeback of the ST", Yami said she has a new plan to let Nepali or other foreign experts handle the valley's water distribution system.

She said that the ministry is now working on strengthening the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khane pani Limited, Kathmandu Valley Water Board and Tariff Fixing Committee.