Indian proposal on energy cooperation draws flak from political leaders

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    KATHMANDU, July 18:

    PTA-1Political leaders have criticized India’s proposal on energy cooperation and accused the government of working unilaterally on issues of national importance.

    Speaking at a discussion in Kathmandu on Friday, Nepali Congress (NC) leader and former energy minister Laxman Ghimire blamed the government for keeping everyone in dark about the proposal. 

    Nepal’s Ministry of Energy has started an internal study on the proposal on ‘energy cooperation’ forwarded by the Indian government.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Nepal in August. Similarly, Indian Minister for External Affairs is visiting Nepal on July 25.

    Minister for Energy Radha Gyawali held discussions on the proposal with former energy ministers, including Ghimire, a week ago. During the discussion, Ghimire and some others had expressed strong protest against the proposal.

    “We only want to sell energy like other commodities. But we want to develop our hydropower projects ourselves,” Ghimire said, adding, “The Indian intention seems to be on occupying our rivers.”

    Likewise, CPN-UML secretary Pradeep Gyawali said the government should sign energy cooperation agreement with India only after forging political consensus. “We should not enter into such a power development agreement as reported in the media,” Gyawali said, adding that agreement should be on power trade rather than on power development.

    Ghimire also expressed doubts on the Indian proposal, saying that the proposal also includes bilateral agreement on renewable energy cooperation. 
    Rastriya Prajatantra Party leader Prakash Chandra Lohani also said there was no need to enter into any fresh agreement as the country has already signed power trade agreement with India in 1997. 

    Political leaders have also expressed dissatisfaction with the Indian government which has not responded to Nepal’s proposal of entering into power trade.
    Nepal had forwarded a proposal for energy trade to India in 2010.

    Source : Republica

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    KATHMANDU, JUL 19 – Former water resource ministers and energy experts on Friday asked the government to make public the draft of the ‘Cooperation in Power Sector’ agreement sent by India. The southern neighbour had recently forwarded the draft to the Energy Ministry in response to the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) sent by Nepal in 2010.

    They have expressed dissatisfaction at some of the contents of the agreement, which they believe are not in Nepal’s interest. The government should make public the document at the earliest, former hydropower minister Laxman Ghimire told an interaction in the Capital on Friday.

    After Nepal sent the PTA draft, the Indian side did not pay much attention for almost four years. In the last JCWR meeting held in Kathmandu , the Indian side had said the process would take time as the proposal was a new idea to the concerned agencies of the government of India. When the Indian side finally responded, their proposal was not for power trade as sought by Nepal, said a senior government official.

    With the Energy Ministry not divulging details, not much is known about the contents of the document. Sources say very few, including senior officials, have access to the closely guarded document.

    Even political parties are unaware of the preparations being made by the ministry for reaching one of the most critical agreements with India, said Ghimire, adding that major political parties have not discussed the issue.

    Hydropower experts, including former water resource secretary Dwarika Nath Dhungel, say there should be public hearing on the document. The PTA draft sent by Nepal proposes to establish cross-border interconnections for power trade between the two countries.

    The document sent by India, according to sources, mentions that no major hydropower project can be developed in Nepal without India’s consent. Some two weeks ago, the Energy Ministry invited former energy ministers to discuss the document. Former water resource minister Dipak Gyawali said officials shared only Clause 3 and Sub-clause 3 A of the document with them. According to it, only an Indian company can develop hydropower in Nepal and if a Nepali company wants to develop it, they should form a joint-venture with an Indian company. “It gives an impression that India wants to have a monopoly over hydropower development in Nepal,” he said. With Nepal already having two agreements on power trade with India in 1990s, former foreign minister Prakash Chandra Lohani questioned why the government sent yet another document in 2010.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post