Dec 27, 2016- Nepal and India have agreed on a fresh deadline of February 2017 to finalise the detailed project report (DPR) of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.
The 4,800 MW hydropower and irrigation project is planned to be built on the Mahakali River which marks Nepal’s western border with India.
A meeting held recently between the energy secretaries of the two countries decided to ask the bi-national entity, Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA), to finalise the DPR by incorporating inputs of both sides and send it to their respective governments for the final signing.
“We have agreed to expedite the project,” said an official at the Energy Ministry. “We have asked the PDA to finalise the DPR by mid-February so that it can be signed by February-end.” The meeting also approved a budget of Rs290 million for 2017.
Earlier, the PDA had been asked to finalise the DPR by October 2016, but it failed to do so after Nepal’s Energy Ministry and the Indian Power Ministry took a long time in submitting their inputs on the draft DPR.
WAPCOS, the Indian state-owned company hired as a consultant by the PDA to prepare the DPR for the multipurpose project, had submitted the report in March.
The PDA forwarded the draft DPR to Nepal’s Energy Ministry and the Indian Power Ministry expecting their feedback well before September.
The Energy Ministry has returned the draft to the PDA with its comments, but the Indian Power Ministry is yet to do so.
“We have sent the DPR with our comments,” said the source. “If the Indian Power Ministry doesn’t delay submitting its feedback, we will be able to meet the new deadline.”
The ministry had assigned the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) to review the report and provide written comments on the draft DPR.
The WECS formed a committee of experts and former bureaucrats consisting of Sri Ranjan Lacoul, Subarna Lal Shrestha, Arjun Prasad Shrestha, Lekhnath Singh Bhandari, Siva Kumar Shrestha, Som Nath Poudel and others to examine the document. The ministry has not disclosed the feedback provided by the expert panel on the draft DPR.
Despite an agreement to expedite the much-delayed project during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in August 2014, the two governments have shown little interest in operationalising it on the ground.
Both of them have repeatedly missed key deadlines. The Indian government has not sent its water resources secretary to the joint meeting of the PDA’s governing body twice in a row.
Source: The Kantipur Post