Nepal seeks high-level meeting on Pancheshwar

Kathmandu, February 3

The government has proposed to India for a meeting of a high-level team of experts for the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP) within this month.

The Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA), the project developer, has proposed to the concerned Indian authorities for a meeting within February or the very beginning of March.

Chiranjivi Chataut, joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation and also the additional chief executive officer of PDA, informed that they have formally written a letter to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWRRDGR), India for the meeting. “The Indian authority was positive to our proposal and I believe that the meeting of the team of experts will take place within the projected time.”

According to Chataut, the meeting will discuss on the development of the detailed project report (DPR), further geological investigations and downstream benefits.

On April 27 last year, the secretary-level meeting between Nepal and India had extended the deadline to prepare the DPR of the Pancheshwar Project to December, but neither has the DPR been completed nor a meeting been held yet.

The DPR of the project is being prepared by Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Ltd, an undertaking of the Indian government.

Chataut further said that both nations need to resume fresh negotiations to give life to the 4,800-megawatt capacity project, to be constructed on the Mahakali River of the Far-Western Province of Nepal.

The upcoming meeting of the PDA is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu. Last year, the previous meeting had given momentum to

finalise the DPR of the project as soon as possible. The meeting had also fixed a budget of Rs 360 million for 2018.

As per Chataut, the meeting will also hold discussions on preparing the policy documents, final bylaws, administration policy and human resources policy of the PDA as soon as possible. Moreover, the previous meeting had also directed a sub-committee under the PDA to settle the issues related to water allocation and power purchase.

The Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project was conceived under the Mahakali Treaty between Nepal and India in 1996. Apart from generating electricity, the project will provide irrigation facility to 0.13 million hectares of land in Nepal and 0.24 million hectares of land in India in addition to other incidental benefits, including flood protection.