Nepal-India experts’ joint meet begins to discuss Pancheshwar project issues
By Narayan Dhungana
KATHMANDU, Feb 27: Expert groups of Nepal and India have sat down again in Kathmandu to hold discussions on the implementation of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP).
The third joint meeting that will run for two days is expected to sort out problems facing the project. So far only a detailed project report of the project has been prepared.
Organized by the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat of Nepal, a total of 15 representatives each from Nepal and India have participated in the meeting. The Nepali delegation to the joint meeting is led by Devendra Karki and the Indian delegation by chief of expert group Mahasus Hussein.
“The meeting will focus on remaining tasks of the project’s DPR. Issues on how to move forward the project will be discussed,” said an attending representative to Rastriya Samachar Samiti.
The DPR was made in 2016 and sent out to both Nepal and India for a study. Nepal has voiced its discontent with some points of the report, which resulted in failure of earlier two rounds of meetings in this regard.
“Our stand is for scientific distribution of water.” The dam site of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project was identified in 1956 by the Indian side. According to the 1971 report, it has the capacity of generating 1,000 megawatt of electricity. The 1991 study showed that its total production will be 6,480 megawatts provided that a 315-meter high dam is constructed.
Nepal, in 1995, developed its detailed project report. India too conducted a study about the project on its own at the same time. A bilateral agreement is required to implement the project in a border river. Despite several rounds of talks towards that end, no substantive progress has been achieved.
The Government of Nepal and the Government of India on February 12, 1996 had reached an agreement on the construction of Sharada Barrage along the Mahakali River, Tanakpur Barrage and PMP. Later it was decided to implement the PMP on a joint-venture.
The November 24, 2009 meeting of a joint committee formed under the water resource ministry of both countries agreed to carry out the preparation of the detailed project report and to execute other required works by forming the Pancheshwar Development Authority. Though the project is yet to be accelerated in bilateral way, the Nepal government is doing its best to keep it for the interest of the people, the PMP said.
On the eve of the meeting Tuesday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli directed the Nepali delegation to the meeting to put its views in the interest of the nation confidently.
The Secretariat was established in 2038 B.S. with the aim to use, manage and carry out integrated development activities of resources of water and energy. RSS