KATHMANDU, Dec 23:
India has proposed to form a joint venture for the development of hydropower in Nepal.
Indian officials floated the idea at the two-day Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) – a commerce secretary level meeting between Nepal and India – that concluded in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Responding to the proposal, Nepali officials said the issue should be dealt by Nepal-India Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR) — a secretary-level joint committee of Ministry of Energy of Nepal and Ministry of Water Resources of India that oversees water resources related issues.
A joint company promoted by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and Power Trading Company (PTC) of India is already undertaking the construction of Dhalkebar-Mujaffarpur transmission line that synchronizes 400-KV cross-border transmission line.
Hydropower experts have welcomed the proposal made by the southern neighbor. Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, coordinator of Energy Committee of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), hailed the proposal saying that it could bring Nepal´s trade deficit down through export of hydropower. He, however, suggested to the government to ensure development of hydropower sector by safeguarding Nepal´s interest.
The Indian delegates also proposed to form a joint business forum of private sector of both the countries for development of hydropower in Nepal and facilitate power trading. However, minutes of the meeting have not been made public yet.
In a separate meeting with Nepali officials and private sector leaders, Indian Commerce Secretary S R Rao repeatedly stressed the need to harness Nepal´s rich water resources to boost power exports by attracting more investment. Rao also opined that Nepal could bring down skyrocketing trade deficit by promoting export of hydropower.
Meanwhile, India has assured Nepal to provide customs clearance to transport wires and other required materials for the completion of the upgradation of 17-kilometer cross-border Kushaha-Kataiya transmission line. Nepali officials say the upgradation of 132-KV transmission line is expected to be instrumental in facilitating import of additional 45 MW of electricity from India. Upgradation works on the 14-kilometer stretch of the transmission line on the Nepali side was completed on September 24.
Indian state of Bihar has already agreed to provide additional power to Nepal through the line. Nepal has been importing a total of 170 MW of electricity from the southern neighbor.
The completion of transmission line is expected to bring down load-shedding by one hour per day. The additional imports of power will support Nepal in preserving water stored in the Kulekhani reservoir project.
During the meeting, the Nepali delegates also drew the attention of Indian delegates for implementation of the decision of permitting the use of Indian currency of 500 and 1000 denominations.
Earlier, bilateral home secretary-level meeting had agreed to allow circulation of Indian currency of 500 and 1,000 denominations in Nepal. The decision was taken keeping in mind the problems faced by Nepalis studying in India, Nepalis bringing home their income from India, and Indians facing problem in taking their income to their homeland.
Likewise, the IGC meeting also decided to sort out Nepali demand of removing Counter Veiling Duty (CVD) on Nepali export at a higher level meeting.
Source : Republica