Nepal, India agree on proper utilisation of water resources

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    Nepal-IndiaKATHMANDU: Nepal and India have agreed to properly utilise the abundant water resources of the Himalayan nation so that both the countries’ growing needs are met.

    Former power minister Suresh Prabhu, who is also the chairperson of Council on Energy, Environment and Water Resources, said that India’s relationship with Nepal is very special and unique, and India is ready to help Nepal which could make the country prosperous and also benefit its people.

    “Nepal is gifted with abundant water resources, but the country lacks proper and systematic management of its resources, which is causing huge damage in the forms of floods, to both the countries,” he pointed out.

    If properly managed the water resources of Nepal can meet the growing energy requirements of India as well as provide huge economic benefits to the people of Nepal, Prabhu said.

    With the development of hydropower Nepal’s per capita income could go up remarkably and it could be the highest not only in South Asia but can be compared with other parts of the world as well by selling electricity to India, he pointed out.

    The Himalayas in South Asia support 40 per cent of the global human population and climate change is posing a threat to the water source, Prabhu said adding the global community should provide compensation to repair the damage caused by climate change as the South Asian region is not responsible for the damage.

    The damage is caused by activities in the industrialised countries, he added.

    The power projects being developed in Nepal should first benefit Nepal and its people and India is ready to provide any help in this regard, he pointed out.

    Prabhu was speaking at a seminar on the theme “Water and Energy Resources Development, New Policy Frameworks for Bilateral Cooperation” organised by Nepal-India Friendship Society.”The 900 MW Arun Third Project had to be aborted one and a half decade ago due to the reservation shown by the World Bank at the last minute which dragged the country to hours of power outage,” recalled Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat.

    Now the attitude of the World Bank has changed and it is now ready to finance various power projects in Nepal, he said.Now some positive developments are happening within the country and international arena as well in the hydropower front, which is very much encouraging, Mahat said.

    Now World Bank has shown interest to make investments in Upper Karnali, Upper Marsyangdi, Tamakoshi, Upper Arun and few other major hydropower projects, and these recent developments are changing the entire scenario in hydropower sector in the country, he pointed out.

    “We expect that the Indian power companies for timely implementation of the power projects which are being developed by them,” he added.

    He also underlined the need to construct high powered transmission lines between Nepal and India to facilitate power trading between Nepal and India.

    Besides the ongoing 400 KV Dhalkebar – Mujuffarpur transmission we need two other high voltage transmission lines near the bigger power projects which are under construction, he pointed out.Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae said, the recent period has witnessed a transformational moment in the relationship between Nepal and India especially that happened after the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal.

    “There is so much goodwill, so much friendship between our two countries and what we need is to work together with greater determination, for the mutual benefit of both the countries and their peoples,” he said.There is a need for nurturing and sustaining this development in the long run, he added.

    “We have made significant strides in our relations post the visit, as we signed the Project Development agreement between GMR India and Nepalese authorities for developing 900 MW Upper Karnali Project,” he pointed out.

    Nepal may get rid of its problem of power outages by next year, by importing electricity from India for the time being once the two ongoing works of the two transmission lines will be complete, he added.

    Source : The Economic Times