Nepal, India direct panel to settle contentious issues of Pancheshwar

Published On: April 27, 2018 12:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The PDA meeting on Thursday decided to direct a sub-committee formed earlier to settle the contentious issues of water allocation and power purchase to finalize the DPR of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.

KATHMANDU, April 27: Nepal and India have resumed fresh negotiations to give life to the long-stalled Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project in far-western Nepal.

The sixth meeting of the governing body of the Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) held in Kathmandu on Thursday reached an understanding to direct a sub-committee formed earlier to settle the contentious issues of water allocation and power purchase to finalize the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the ambitious project. The project will generate 6,480 MW of electricity.
The project conceived under the Mahakali Treaty between Nepal and India in 1996 got a fillip during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal in 2014, paving the way for the formation of PDA to finalize the project. 

Indian delegation led by Water Resources Secretary UP Singh arrived in Kathmandu to hold the key meeting with Nepali side led by secretary at Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Dr Sanjay Sharma. “Apart from other issues, there has been an agreement to expedite finalization of the DPR of the Pancheshwar Project to ensure its early implementation,” said a senior Nepali official participating in the meeting that followed a meeting of experts from both the countries.

Apart from generating electricity, the project will provide irrigation to 0.24  million hectares of land in India and 0.13 million hectares in Nepal in addition to other incidental benefits including flood protection. The project will have two dams for India and Nepal working in tandem.

Nepal and India had signed in an agreement to this effect during the visit of then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to India back in 1996. Although the two countries agreed to finalize the project DPR within six month and complete construction works within eight years, Nepal and India have failed to finalize the DPR till date due to dispute over sharing water and the benefits accrued from the project. 

Although Rs 295 million budget was allocated to expedite the project works, only 20 percent of the budget was spent in the year 2017. 

Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said the meeting between the Indian and Nepali delegations had productive discussions. “Productive discussions held at the Sixth Meeting of the Governing Body of Pancheshwar Development Authority,” wrote the embassy on its official twitter account.

According to Joint Secretary at Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Dinesh Ghimire, the meeting held between Indian and Nepali delegations dwelled on the regulation of the staffers working with the PDA, finalization of budget for the year 2018, rehabilitation and resettlement of the people living in the catchment areas of the project.
The project is likely to submerge 11,600 hectares of mountain area out of which 4,000 hectares fall in Nepal and the rest fall in three districts of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. 

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