Govt to write to India for PTA signing

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    KATHMANDU, AUG 22 –

    Ministry of EnergyIn its desperate attempt to sign a power trade agreement (PTA) with India, the Ministry of Energy (MoE) will be writing to India through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs this week, sources at the MoE have said.

    Energy Secretary Bishwo Prakash Pandit said the MoE was preparing to make a follow-up for signing of the PTA, a draft of which was sent to India in 2009.  “As the Indian government has recently removed the energy from its sensitive list, we are requesting the Indian government to provide its input and comments on the draft of PTA and expedite the signing process,” said Pandit.

    Nepal had submitted the PTA draft to India in 2009 aimed at importing the power from its southern neighbour during the dry season and exporting it during the wet season. Then Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai during his visit to India in October 2011 had also asked the Indian government to conclude the PTA, stating it as crucial for both the countries.

    The issue was also raised during the seventh meeting of Nepal-India Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR) held in January this year. During the meeting, the Indian side had said that the process would take a little longer in spite of the continuous follow-up, stating that the proposed agreement was a new idea to the concerned agencies of the Government of India.

    According to senior MoE officials, India has asked the MoE to furnish a detailed plan as regards the amount of power that can be imported and exported between the two countries.

    Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have been pushing for a swift signing of the PTA with India. “As the PTA can help in the exchange of energy by harmonising the opposing laws of the two countries, the ministry should put serious efforts towards concluding the pact this time,” said Subarna Das Shrestha, president of the Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN). According to the IPPs, signing the PTA with India is crucial also for power developers that are building export-oriented hydropower projects in Nepal.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post