Tenure of Pancheshwar ‘team of experts’ extended by one year

The project was conceived under the Mahakali Treaty in 1996 

Kathmandu, December 2

High-level officials from Nepal and India have agreed to extend the tenure of the team of experts of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP) by one year.

A meeting of the Nepali and Indian officials of Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA), the project developer, which was held in New Delhi last week (November 27 and 28), has extended its tenure to December 2020.

Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, who had led the Nepali delegation, informed that the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWRRDGR) of India has agreed to extend the deadline and finalise the detailed project report (DPR) of the project as soon as possible.

On May 9, during the meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had raised concerns regarding the development of the project.

According to Ghimire, finalising the DPR of the multipurpose project along with downstream benefits and further geological investigations were also discussed during the meeting.

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 the report was not finalised during the recent meeting.

The DPR of the project has already been prepared by Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Ltd, an undertaking of the Indian government. But, both the governments are yet to endorse it.

However, in the meeting, both countries agreed to give life to the 4,800-megawatt capacity multipurpose project, to be constructed on the Mahakali River of the Far-Western Province of Nepal along the India border.

Ghimire further informed that the next meeting of team of experts will be called before January 15 in New Delhi at a mutually convenient date.

As per Ghimire, 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.

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.