It might not be a distant dream for Nepal to be able to meet its increasing power demands, especially with foreign companies showing keen interest in investing in hydropower projects during the Power Summit that concluded in the capital on Tuesday. The two-day summit, with participants from countries including India, China, the Netherlands and Thailand, was not only helpful in renewing foreign interest in Nepal’s tremendous hydropower potentials but also in attracting international companies to put money into hydro-electricity generation in the future. Given the political will and the keenness of foreign private investors on Nepal’s water resources development, Nepal holds great promise for not only meeting its acute domestic power needs but also exporting electricity to neighbouring countries.
Various hydropower projects have been undertaken in the past, but sharing of benefits between investors and the government usually has been the bone of contention. This has delayed the full development of Nepal’s water resources even in decades. According to the Interim Constitution, the government can reach treaties with foreign governments and parties pertaining to the utilisation and distribution of natural resources only with the support of a two-thirds parliamentary majority. Foreign investment means that the investors want profit. A fair deal that considers the legitimate interests of both Nepal and foreign investors would go a long way in developing the water resources in mutually beneficial partnership.