Meeting of Pancheshwar governing body kicks off

Kathmandu, April 23

The governing body of Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA), the developer of 4,800-megawatt Nepal-India Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP), started its sixth meeting here today.

The two-day governing body meeting, which is being led by the Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Prabin Aryal and his Indian counterpart Akhil Kumar, is expected to iron out the contentious issues that have stalled the mega project since over two decades.

According to Mahendra Gurung, CEO of PMP, the meeting of the governing body would finalise the agenda of the PDA for the energy secretary-level discussion. “The meeting is aimed at coming up with policies and programmes to take the project forward.”

Stating that various aspects of the project were discussed during the meeting today, Gurung said, “We are trying to come up with a feasible solution to detailed project report (DPR) issue of the PMP.”

Nepal and India have been at odds regarding the DPR since long. The Indian side has been laying claim to the water in lower Sharada dam, while Nepal has been demanding that it should get 50 per cent of the water based on the principles of equal-sharing.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's recent visit to India was expected to resolve the dispute. However, the issue was not discussed at that time.

The project is located at the Mahakali River, which is the border of Nepal and India in western side of Nepal. The talks of the project were initiated at least 23 years ago, but there has been lack of progress due to various issues.

This is the sixth meeting of the governing body and the fourth meeting of energy secretaries of the two countries. The last meeting of the PDA governing body was held on December 22, 2016. Gurung informed that Anup Kumar Upadhyay, secretary at Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, and Ajay Kumar Bhalla, secretary at the Ministry of Power, India, will lead the secretary-level meeting.

Gurung said the joint committee meeting would also set the date for the next meeting.