The 4th meetings of the Indo-Nepal Joint Working Group (JWG) and Joint Steering Committee (JSC) on Power Cooperation were held on February 13-14, 2017 in Kathmandu. The Indian side for JWG was led by Shri R.K. Verma, Chairman, Central Electricity Authority and for JSC by Power Secretary Shri P. K. Pujari. The Nepalese delegation for JWG was led by Shri Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Energy and for JSC by Shri Anup Kumar Upadhyay, Energy Secretary.
The Nepalese side conveyed its deep appreciation for the efforts by the Government of India to supply enhanced quantities of electricity to Nepal that has made several parts of the country, including Kathmandu, free of load-shedding this winter. The current import 380 MW of power from India has been possible by virtue of the installation of additional transformer at Muzaffarpur by the Indian side, as also by technical improvements at Tanakpur at the request of the Nepalese side.
With the commissioning of two new lines – Raxaul-Parwanipur and Kataiya-Kusaha – the installed capacity for export of power to Nepal will increase by another 100 to 120 MW by the end of February 2017. Further, with completion of 220 kV substation at Dhalkebar, the installed capacity will increase to almost 700 MW by the middle of 2017.
The Indian side conveyed its willingness to supply additional electricity to Nepal. On the existing and new transmission lines The quantity and price of these supplies will be decided by the concerned agencies on the two sides. The Indian side also agreed to extend technical assistance for improvement of existing infrastructure so that the era of load-shedding can end in Nepal for good.
The two sides also discussed construction of new transmission lines, keeping in view the power projects that are being developed. In this connection, New Butwal-Gorakhpur and Lumki-Bareilly transmission lines and new 400 kV sub-stations at Dhalebar, Butwal and Hetauda were also discussed. While the modality of construction and funding would be deliberated in the Joint Technical Team, the Indian side expressed its readiness to consider new LOCs for construction of infrastructure on the Nepalese side.
The Committees also discussed requirements of training for Nepalese engineers in operational and commercial issues. Power Grid Corporation of India expressed readiness to design special training courses to meet the requirements of the Nepalese side.
Discussing the progress of various hydropower projects, concern was expressed regarding delays in acquisition of forest land for Arun-III and Upper Karnali projects which have led to delays in works and economic viability of the projects. The Nepalese side conveyed that these issues would be resolved within two months.
The Nepalese side also expressed interest in acquisition of LED bulbs, for which the concerned Indian agency would provide required information. It was mentioned that so far India has installed more than 210 million LED bulbs which have significantly enhanced power efficiency and reduced cost; India plans to instal 770 million LED bulbs in a few years, and the Indian agency has gained considerable experience in this area.
The Indian side conveyed that the new guidelines issued by the Government of India on cross-border trade of electricity is fair and liberal and covers all elements of Power Trade Agreement. The guidelines provides a lot of comfort and certainty to power developers interested in exporting electricity to India. The Nepalese side appreciated the issuance of the guidelines.
The two meetings of JWG and JSC were held in an amicable and cooperative environment. It was decided that the next meetings of the JWG and JSC would be held in New Delhi in August 2017.