7th meeting of Nepal-India Joint Committee on Water Resources
Nepal-India power trade deal delayed
BHOJ RAJ POUDEL
KATHMANDU, Jan 26: Signing of the Nepal-India Power Trade Agreement (PTA) has hit a snag with India seeking more time to study Nepal´s proposal.
Though Nepali officials proposed to discuss the contents of the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on bi-lateral electricity trade at the seventh meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR) being held in Kathmandu, participating Indian officials said they need time to study the proposal.
“Nepal-India power trade agreement is likely to be delayed as Indian officials have sought more time to study the proposal,” said a Nepali official who participated in the JCWR meeting that concluded on Friday.
Nepal had submitted a draft of MoU on PTA to India in 2009 before sitting for talks. The fifth meeting of JCWR held in Pokhara in November 2009 had decided to finalize the draft. The signing of PTA would have paved the way for laying cross-border transmission line and power trade between the two countries.
The Nepali side had also drawn the attention of Indian officials about implementation of the first phase of 400 kV Dhalkebar-Mujaffarpur cross-border transmission line. The transmission line is to be developed and operated by the private sector.
The bilateral meeting dwelled on a host of pending issues such as Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, Tanakpur Barrage, Tanakpur-Mahendranagar Link Road, Koshi High Dam Project, Gandak Project and Naumure, among others.
“The Indian government needs some more time to review and respond to the terms of reference (ToR) of Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) as the Indian finance ministry has offered suggestions on clause 17 regarding exemption of taxes and duties on equipment and materials to be used in the projects,” reads the minute signed by officials of both the countries.
Energy Secretary Hari Ram Koirala from the Nepali side and secretary of the Indian ministry of water resources Dhruv Vijay Singh signed the minute.
Similarly, Indian officials have said it would take some more time for securing forest clearance approval for one kilometer section of the Tanakpur-Mahendranagar Link Road that passes through a forest in Uttrakhand, India. However, the meeting has decided to appoint RITES Ltd India for preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the remaining section of the road parts.
Meanwhile, Nepali side also demanded that the issue of compensation for 10,306 bighas of private land damaged by the Koshi project be resolved at the earliest.
Nepali side also picked up the issue of crop damages and other problems caused by western main canal of the Gandak Project. However, India refused to discuss the issue further stating that it had already been dropped during the third meeting of Joint Committee on Koshi and Gandak Projects (JCKGP).