The Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) is unlikely to meet the October deadline to finalise the detailed project report (DPR) of the much-talked-about bi-national Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, as the Energy Ministry of Nepal is taking extra time to send feedback on the draft DPR presented by the PDA.

    Both the governments (India and Nepal), issuing a joint statement on Friday, decided to expedite the finalisation of the DPR; however, the work is moving at very slow pace.

    WAPCOS, an Indian state-owned company, hired by the PDA as a consultant to prepare the DPR for the 4,800MW multipurpose project had submitted the report in March. Subsequently, the PDA forwarded the draft DPR to the Energy Ministry, expecting a feedback well before September. Energy Ministry officials said it will take some time to send the feedback to the authority.

    “If everything goes smoothly, we will be able to send the feedback within a month,” said Nabin Raj Singh, project chief of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. “Currently, the draft DPR is being reviewed by a team of experts. Once we get a written review from them, we will compile it and send it to the authority.”

    Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS)—authorised by the ministry to review the report—has formed a six-member committee of experts to provide written comment on the draft DPR.

    The committee includes former bureaucrats such as Sri Ranjan Lacoul, Subarnalal Shrestha, Arjun Prasad Shrestha, Lekhnath Singh Bhandari, Siva Kumar Shrestha and Som Nath Poudel, among others.

    According to PDA CEO Mahendra Gurung, it will take an additional one and half months to finalise the DPR after getting feedback from the ministry. So it is almost certain the October deadline set by the fourth joint meeting of the PDA’s governing body to finalise the DPR will be missed.

    Despite an agreement to expedite the much-delayed project during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in August 2014, both the governments have shown little interest in operationalising the project in the ground. The Indian side has failed to send their secretary for water resource in the prescheduled joint meeting of the governing body consecutively for the second time.

    Likewise, Nepal is yet to provide Rs200 million, its share for the annual budget of 2016, although equal share from India has already been received. In this bi-national project, both the governments are entitled to put their share of annual budget as agreed. “We are yet to receive Rs200 million from the Nepal government as its share of annual budget,” said Gurung.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post