India proposes joint mechanism for energy cooperation

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    KATHMANDU, March 4:

    A day after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the southern neighbor was ready to cooperate with Nepal for the development of hydropower projects, visiting Power Secretary of India, Pradip Kumar Sinha, has proposed to form a joint-mechanism for effective communication on the issues of energy cooperation between the two countries.

    Citing progress in energy cooperation between India and Bangladesh, Sinha stressed the need for instituting similar mechanism with Nepal to increase cooperation in energy sector.

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    There already exists Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR) between Nepal and India that work to promote mutual cooperation on water resources. Secretary at Nepal´s Ministry of Energy and Secretary at India´s Ministry of Water Resources represent their respective governments in the committee. However, there is no such bilateral body looking after energy issues.

    Speaking at a talk program on ´Growth of Indian Power Sector´ organized by the Embassy of India in Kathmandu in association with Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday, Sinha said there was no communication between ministries of two countries looking after energy issues so far.

    Bishwa Prakash Pandit, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, said he was excited with the Indian proposal. During a meeting on the sideline of BIMSTEC meeting in Myanmar with Nepal´s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Singh said, “We always stand ready to expand the cooperation in hydropower projects in Nepal.”

    India willing to sign PTA

    India has expressed interest to sign Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with Nepal. Sinha said Nepal can sign PTA with any state-level power companies of India or central Power Trade Corporation (PTC) as per its requirement.

    New Delhi showed interest to sign PTA at a time when Nepal is waiting for exchange of power to fulfill energy deficit through ´energy banking´.
    Energy banking is a concept of exporting surplus energy during wet season and importing energy to fulfill requirements during dry seasons.

    High-level officials at the Ministry of Energy have termed the Indian offer ´positive´. They, however, are surprised by the Indian offer as the southern neighbor had been turning deaf ear on Nepal´s proposal to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for power trading.
    Nepal had proposed to India to sign MoU for power trade in 2010.

    Sinha also suggested for policy intervention including a fast-track procedures for hydropower developer to speed up energy development in Nepal.
    Stating that liberal policy of 2003 embraced by India expedited hydropower production in his country, Sinha said Nepal should also encourage the private sector. Energy generation by private sector has doubled in India after the policy was implemented in 2003.

    “Not only India, Nepal can export energy to other neighboring countries as well,” added Sinha.

    He also said energy exchange will be possible only after the completion of the Mujaffarpur Dhalkebar 400 Kv cross border transmission line.
    The project is expected to complete in December, 2015.

    Sinha also underlined the need to construct additional cross border transmission line for better energy cooperation.

    Source : Republica

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    India blames Nepal for delay in signing power trade agreement

    KATHMANDU: Indian power secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha has pointed a finger at Nepal for not playing a proactive role in signing the much-awaited power trade agreement, as he called on the government to immediately take the initiative to create a joint mechanism that instantly addresses such delays.

    “Nepal has been raising the issue of power trade agreement and it is said a draft has also been prepared. But frankly I haven’t even seen the draft so far,” Sinha said, addressing a talk session on ‘Growth of Indian Power Sector’ organised jointly by the Indian Embassy in Nepal and the Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, here today.

    Sinha’s statement was a blow to Nepal’s assertion that it has long been pushing to enter into such an agreement with India to facilitate unlimited import and export of power between the two countries.

    Sinha’s statement has also exposed the indifferent attitude of the Nepali bureaucratic system, which does not even bother to find out whether important documents have landed on desks of the concerned people abroad.

    Nepal has long been trying to enter into a power trade agreement with India so that it can purchase any quantity of electricity during lean seasons and sell any quantity of power during the peak seasons. Once such a pact is signed, it will replace the existing Power Exchange Agreement between the two neighbouring countries which caps electricity trading.

    “One of the reasons why we have not been able to sign this agreement is due to lack of frequent communication between the power ministries of the two countries…. In fact, there is no communication at all,” Sinha said, warning such a vacuum may even create misunderstanding on various issues between the two countries.

    He then called on Nepal to immediately take the initiative to create a mechanism that directly engages the energy ministries of the two countries to work on various issues of national importance.

    Such a body, according to Sinha, could take crucial decisions on development of energy sectors of both the countries, including signing of the power trade agreement.

    “India and Bangladesh have managed to sort out various issues related to power because of the establishment of such a mechanism,” Sinha said.

    Currently, India and Bangladesh have a three-tier mechanism in place — one at the secretary level, one at joint secretary level and another is the joint technical committee.

    “Because of this mechanism, we were able to construct high-voltage direct current transmission lines (considered superior to alternating current transmission lines) between the two countries within the deadline of two-and-a-half years,” Sinha added, implying formation of such a body may also be of interest to Nepal.

    Source : The Himalayan Times