Nepal to present a wide-ranging wishlist to India seeking support for infrastructure, hydel power

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    NEW DELHI: Nepal will present a wide-ranging wishlist to India seeking support for infrastructure, hydel power and transmission lines among other development projects during PM KP Oli’s visit from Feb 19-24 in what could narrow down months of bitterness following new constitution enacted by the Himalayan State.
    On his maiden visit abroad since taking charge Oli who is no stranger to India will seek Modi government’s support for infrastructure, hydel-power and power transmission lines, authoritative sources informed.

    Arriving in the backdrop of Constitutional amendments to meet some of the demands of agitating Madheshis, Oli would seek conclusion of Delhi’s support for two pending hydro-power projects of a total 750 MW capacity, Nepal government sources said. The two projects is worth $1 billion.

    Nepal has the potential to generate 42,000 MW of hydropower but currently produces 800 MW — even less than the domestic demand of 1,400 MW. 

    These two power projects were discussed when Nepal’s Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi last week.

    Besides promising $2 billion support during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in August 2014, Delhi announced another $1 billion in assistance at the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction following the April 2015 earthquake. Out of the $1 billion, $250 million is aid and the remaining $750 million is soft loan to carry out various post-quake reconstruction works. 

    Poudel’s visit was aimed at identifying projects under the Indian assistance plan.

    Oli’s wishlist also includes completion of the India-assisted Hulaki Road (postal road) project in Terai area within five years; laying of cross-border power transmission lines and developing a state-of-art hospital in Kathmandu.

    Both countries recently installed 400 kv power transmission lines and have also proposed to build six power corridors at various border points.

    The Nepalese PM might also seek Indian assistance to build one national institute of technology, establishment of eight technical schools and an ayurveda university, sources said.

    The two sides will also discuss early implementation of the 6,720 MW Pancheshwor multipurpose project, construction of a second international airport in Nepal, and fast-tracking of construction of the Kathmandu-Terai road besides cross-border security issues.

    India has contributed to major infrastructure development in the Himalayan state.

    Grants from India helped to build the airport in Kathmandu, the flood control Koshi Barrage, Bir Hospital in Kathmandu, Trauma Centre, a number of irrigation projects and important highways like Tribhuvan Highway — connecting Kathmandu to the Birgunj-Raxaul border with India — and Siddhartha Highway — connecting the Terai region in southern Nepal with the mountainous region in northern Nepal.

    Oli’s trip to India comes before his China visit and Delhi would like to utilize the opportunity to extend concrete support for Nepal’s development related projects.

    Source : The Economic Times