While the Indian Ministry of Water Resources has already appointed two officials, the Nepali side is preparing to appoint officials at the possible earliest. Government officials said the authority would be functional within a month after the staffing is completed.
In September 2014, Nepal and India had endorsed the authority’s statute. Apart from producing hydroelectricity, the project will irrigate 93,000 hectares of land in Nepal and 1.6 million hectares on the Indian side. Experts have been claiming the project is in favor of Nepal as the inundation area is larger on the Indian side.
Of the eight staff members at the authority, Nepal will appoint four, including the chief executive officer (CEO). The Indian side, which has already appointed an additional CEO and a technical director, will appoint rest of the two members soon.
“We had been waiting for the Indian side to make appointment first. The authority will get all members within one month,” said Keshav Dhowj Adhikari, joint secretary and spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy.
Adhikari said the two countries are also working on issues like salaries and allowances of the members of the authority. “They (the Indian side) have asked us to work out the issues. We will come up with a common understanding soon,” he said.
According to the authority’s statute, the CEO will be appointed every three years on a rotational basis between Nepal and India.
The additional CEO will be arranged in such a way that if the CEO is from Nepal, the additional CEO and finance director will be from India, and vice versa. As per the agreement between the two countries, the authority will be governed by seven members from each country which will be co-chaired by the energy secretary of Nepal and the Water Resource Secretary of India.
The executive committee of the authority will be headed by the chief executive. The governing committee will have periodic meetings and discussions for shorting out issues that come in the course of time.
According to Adhikari, setting up a office is also among the key agendas. Nepal and India have agreed on setting up the office in Mahendranagar.
During a meeting in September, 2014, officials had agreed to assign India’s Wapcos Limited to upgrade data for the integration of the detailed project reports (DPR) prepared by Nepal and India separately.
Once the authority becomes functional, it will first get the report from Wapcos, and then prepare a concrete DPR. The DPR will make it easier for the officials to analyse costs and benefits of the project.
The development of the Pancheswar Multipurpose Project, which was envisioned by Nepal and India 18 years ago, started gaining momentum after the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kathmandu in August last year. The Terms of Reference (ToR) for establishing the authority was exchanged between the two countries during Modi’s visit.
Source : eKantipur