Six Nepalese Development Projects to Watch in 2020

Nepal will see a number of important infrastructure projects grow this year. Two national pride projects, the Gautam Buddha International Airport, and the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project are on-track to be completed in 2020. In addition, many other projects will either be commenced or will see further development. Here are some of the most important development projects that are happening in Nepal.

1. Melamchi Water Supply Project

The Melamchi Water Supply Project is designed to reduce the impact of chronic water shortages that are problematic for the Kathmandu Valley. After being abandoned by an Italian contractor last year, a Chinese construction firm, Sinhydro, was awarded the contract to complete the project. The Chinese company has assured the Nepalese government that the project will be completed in 2020, and will deliver 170 million liters of drinking water to homes in Kathmandu by the middle of the new year.

2. Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project

The Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project is scheduled to come online in 2020. It is a 456-megawatt hydroelectric project and the largest in the history of Nepal. The construction costs for the run-of-the-river project are expected to rise to 73 billion Nepali Rupees, which is roughly 635 million USD. If the project comes online it will shift Nepal to an energy surplus, which will eliminate the nation’s dependence on India for electrical power, especially in the dry months.

3. Huaxin Cement

Huaxin Cement is creating a number of cement plants in Dhading, Nepal. The project is the second-largest cement manufacturing project in Nepal that is backed by foreign direct investment (FDI). Huaxin Cement Narayani Pvt. Ltd is behind the project, and it is a joint venture between the Nepali and Chinese that is estimated to be worth at least $140 million USD.

The project, which is currently underway, will produce 3,000 tons per day in its first phase. The first phase of the project will also create 1,000 jobs. Huaxin Cement has secured a contract for a limestone mine for the price of 600 million NPR (around 5.2 million USD) from the government of Nepal via a competitive bidding process. Last year, a project investment agreement (PIA) was signed between Huaxin Cement of China and the IBN when Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli was in China in 2018.

4. Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA)

Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) is running behind schedule and was due to be finished in 2019. The officials in charge of the project are working to create another deadline to finish the project. For the moment, GBIA is being constructed with funding supplied by the Asian Development Bank. The airport is expecting to do test flights in the first quarter of 2020, as part of the process of opening the airport for public use.

GBIA is an international airport that is expected to serve more than 700,000 people annually as operations ramp up to the year 2030. Of those 700,000+ passengers, 280,000 are expected to be visitors to Lumbini, which is 20 kilometers west of the airport.

The airport expects to welcome passengers from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar. Over the medium term, passengers from China, South Korea, and Japan are also expected. The Buddhist population from all the aforementioned nations are expected to be a staple at the new airport, which is near Buddhist sites that should act as a draw.

5. Pokhara Regional International Airport

The Pokhara Regional International Airport is being developed rapidly and is set to come online in 2021. Officials think that flight operations will begin on schedule, in April of 2021. The same sources commented that all work on the airport will be completed by December of 2020, and flights will begin in the early part of 2021.

It is estimated that an additional 21.47 billion NPR around 187.5 million USD) will be needed to complete the project. The airport boasts a 45 meter wide and 2,500 meters long runway, which can handle aircraft as large as a Boeing 757. The project is being funded by China’s Export-Import (EXIM) Bank for loans and the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). It is being built by CMMC Engineering, a Chinese company.

6. Nepal-China Eco-Industrial Park

The Nepal-China Eco-Industrial Park site is situated in Damak, within the Jhapa district. Construction of the industrial park is planned to begin in 2020, at a total cost of 64 billion NPR (about 559 million USD). The project is being financed by Chinese company Lhasa Economic as well as Technology Development Zone Jing-Ping Joint Creation Construction Project Development Co Ltd.

The project will be built on 1,600 hectares of land with a public-private partnership (PPP) model. It is a part of the BRI and will have more than 700 industries. The planned products are electrical appliances, ready to wear garments, automobiles, foods and agriculture products. It will also be home to multinational companies.

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