PTA likely to be signed by deadline, say officials

    271

    PTA-1KATHMANDU, SEP 10 – Officials at the Ministry of Energy are optimistic that the much talked about Power Trade Agreement (PTA) between Nepal and India will be signed within the 45-day deadline set during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal in August.

    The two countries initialled the PTA at the secretary level last week in New Delhi during the visit of a Nepal team led by Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri. The pact now needs to be approved by the cabinets of both the countries. The document will be signed either by the ministers or secretaries of the two countries to give formal shape to the PTA, according to Kshatri.

    “An Indian team is likely to arrive in Nepal before September 20 to sign the final accord,” said Kshatri. “Things in India too have been speeded up.” Meanwhile, the Energy Ministry is preparing to send the PTA initialled between the two countries to the Cabinet for its endorsement within a week.

    The pact entitled Electric Power Trade, Cross-Border Transmission Interconnection and Grid Connectivity will pave the way for trading electricity between the two countries.

    “Due to the occurrence of several holidays, we could not send the document to the Cabinet as soon as we would have liked,” said Kshatri. “The process will be accelerated from Tuesday, and we are hopeful that it will be dispatched this week.”

    Keshav Dhowj Adhikari, spokesperson at the Energy Ministry, said upon his return from India on Friday that the final agreement that will be signed after being okayed by the cabinets of the two countries will not contain any changes.

    “Apart from a few punctuation marks, no significant changes have been made in the draft PTA sent by the Nepali side,” said Adhikari.

    Energy Ministry officials are optimistic about the quick approval of the pact since India has agreed to the draft prepared by the cross-party political committee comprising NC leader and Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, CPN-UML leader Bhim Rawal and UCPN (Maoist) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

    The much talked about

    deal will allow the two countries to develop transmission interconnections, grid connectivity, power exchange and trading through governmental, public and private enterprises on mutually acceptable terms.

    Likewise, the agreement allows licensed electricity producers, buyers or traders of the two countries to engage in cross-border electricity trading, including that through power exchanges, and to seek cross-border transmission access as per the laws of the respective country. Any governmental, public or private sector enterprise of the two countries can engage in planning and constructing interconnection facilities and power trade.

    A joint communiqué released on August 4 during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Nepal had directed the concerned authorities to conclude the negotiation on an agreement on power trade within 45 days. The authorities are likely to meet the deadline if things move as planned.

    Source : eKantipur