NEPAL

Nepal to press India to agree on funding modality

Posted 8 months ago by Adarsha Devkota

Nepali energy secretary will soon try to convince his Indian counterpart to agree on the funding modality prepared by Nepal to build the 400kV Butwal-Gorakhpur cross-border transmission line, reliable sources said. The request would be made during the Nepal-India energy secretary-level Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meeting scheduled to be held in the Indian capital of New Delhi from December 20 to 22.

A highly-placed source at Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility, who is also attending the meeting, said Nepal will make the proposal to expedite project construction.

The cross-border transmission line will stretch 135 km, of which 20 km will be located in Nepal and the rest in India. Nepal has proposed that both the countries be responsible for construction of the power line that falls within their territories.

During the last JSC meeting held in Kathmandu in February, both the sides had agreed to endorse the detailed project report (DPR) of the project prepared by a joint technical team and asked the technical team to recommend a funding modality for construction of the transmission line.

Later during the meeting of technical team, Nepal had proposed that both the countries finance construction of the project in their respective territories. India, however, did not present its proposal during the meeting and nor did it agree on the proposal tabled by Nepal.

Instead, Indian officials who took part in the meeting repeatedly raised the issue of commercial viability of the project, casting doubts on construction of the project.

“We will get a clearer picture on India’s intention during the upcoming JSC meeting,” said an Energy Ministry source.

Nepal has already arranged funds to develop the portion of transmission line that falls within its territory. It is planning to build the line in its territory using the grant

provided by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US government agency. An agreement to this effect has been signed.

Nepal and India had agreed to build the Butwal-Gorakhpur cross-border transmission line during the JSC meeting held more than a year ago in New Delhi and had formed a joint technical team to prepare the DPR.

The Energy Ministry has accorded top priority to the planned transmission line project as it can efficiently distribute imported power to high energy consuming cities like Bhairahawa, Butwal, Pokhara and Narayangadh. The power line will also be useful to evacuate surplus energy produced in Budhi Gandaki and Marshyangdi corridors once hydroelectric projects that are currently being built come online.

EKantipur

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