Kathmandu, August 14
Aiming to address the key concerns related to cross-border transmission lines, power trade and energy banking, the government is gearing up to hold a discussion with power ministers of India and Bangladesh next month.
According to Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun, the meeting will pave way for energy trade with the said countries. “The discussion has been scheduled for September 12.”
As per Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the ministry, India’s Minister of Power RK Singh and Bangladesh’s Minister of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid have confirmed their participation in the discussion. “Along with the ministers, the secretaries of related ministries and other concerned stakeholders will take part in the discussion.”
On December 23, the Indian government had amended its cross-border power trade regulations paving the way for Nepali power producers to export electricity not only to India but also to third countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar.
At that time, Indian authorities had rescinded a provision, which stated that only companies fully owned by the governments of the concerned countries or those having at least 51 per cent equity investment of Indian public or private companies could export power to the Indian market after obtaining one-time approval from the designated authority in India.
Similarly, Nepal and Bangladesh have also agreed to build a cross-border transmission line to supply electricity generated in Nepal to Bangladesh. On December 4, a secretary-level joint steering committee meeting had agreed to form a high-level committee to finalise the procedures to build the cross-border transmission line.
“Our discussion next month will focus on the spirit of earlier mutual tripartite pacts between Nepal, India and Bangladesh and clarify ambiguous areas,” said Minister Pun, adding that Nepal will soon export electricity to its neighbours.
“The role of the Indian government is critical for breaking the deadlock on some key issues related to building the transmission line between Nepal and Bangladesh, so the meeting will be very important for us,” Pun said.
As per MoEWRI, the Nepali and Bangladeshi officials will present the procedures for building the cross-border transmission line.
Even as Nepal and Bangladesh, Nepal and India, and Nepal, Bangladesh and India have held numerous bilateral and trilateral meetings regarding power trade, they have not reached any tangible agreement so far.
The Bangladeshi government has expressed interest to buy more than 9,000 megawatts of electricity from Nepal by 2040.
As per the MoEWRI, Nepal will soon be able to export 500 megawatts of electricity to Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government has already signed an agreement to import electricity from the Upper Karnali hydropower project, which has installed capacity of 900 megawatts and is being developed by India-based GMR.
A version of this article appears in print on August 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.