November 30, 2016 10:29 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Nov 30: Nepal and India have agreed to finalize the detailed project report (DPR) of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project by February 15, 2017.
The first meeting of a bilateral mechanism, co-chaired by Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Shankar Das Bairagi and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae, has decided that both the sides will forward their comments on the draft DPR and that WAPCOS will finalize the DPR incorporating comments received from both the sides, officials, who attended the meeting, told Republica.
WAPCOS Ltd, India's state-owned consultant, had prepared the draft of the DPR to build the 5,600-megawatt project some nine months ago. But Nepal and India are yet to give their opinions on the draft.
Though the project had got some momentum after the Nepal visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2014, it was again affected by the earthquakes of 2015 and the Indian blockade. During the visit, the two governments had announced to complete the DPR within a year. But it did not happen.
Prime Ministers of both the countries had, during the India visit of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal in September, agreed to set up an oversight mechanism for expediting the project.
The two sides are yet to finalize water-sharing issues. Similarly, Nepal is more concerned about counting downstream benefits.
Likewise, Tuesday's meeting also decided to arrange land to set up the headquarters of Pancheshwar Development Authority in Kanchanpur as well as start work for building two suspension bridges at Pancheshwar and Rupaligadh, according to Nabin Raj Singh, the director general of the Department of Electricity Development.
The meeting also discussed different other projects being developed under Indian grants and other mega projects being developed by Indian companies. It decided to settle the issues of land registration certificates in the project site of Upper Karnali Hydropower Project which is being developed by Indian infrastructure major GMR. Likewise, it has been agreed that the Department of Electricity Development will approve Initial Environment Examination (IEE) of the transmission line that connects project site of Arun III to Dhalkebar of Janakpur within seven days.
Bijay Jaisi, the senior divisional engineer with the Department of Roads, told Republica that the meeting cleared several bottlenecks in implementing some key road project. The meeting decided to finalize the DPR of a motorable bridge over Mahakali River in Kanchanpur.
"We have to collect opinion from both the side and incorporate them in the DPR," Jaisi said, adding that they would invite bids for the project within three months.
Similarly, three other motorable bridge projects over the same river are under study.
The other projects discussed in the meeting were Integrated Check Posts, Cross Border Transmission Line, and Postal Roads as well as reconstruction projects carried out under cooperation of the Government of India.