Nepali, Indian officials discuss implementation

Nepali, Indian officials discuss  implementation

Post Report, Kathmandu

Development of transmission lines for trading power, among other pertinent issues, were on the agenda of the meeting of the Joint Working Group

Jan 29, 2016- Nepali and Indian officials on Thursday discussed the implementation of the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) signed between the two countries in 2014.

The development of transmission lines for trading power, among other pertinent issues, were on the agenda of the meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) held in Kathmandu. The conference also explored methods to remove barriers for effective implementation of the agreement that paved the way for free power trade. Madhu Prasad Bhetwal, deputy director general of the Department of Electricity Development (DoED), led the Nepali side at the meeting while Ghanshyam Prasad, director of India’s Ministry of Power, led the seven-member Indian delegation. The meeting was slated to be chaired by Sanjay Sharma, joint secretary of the Ministry of Energy, and Jyoti Arora, joint secretary of India’s Ministry of Power. However, after the Indian side said that Arora would not be able to attend, the two countries decided to have their respective directors lead the talks due to the need to follow protocol.  “Today’s session was a technical one. The two sides discussed ways to enhance connectivity,” Bhetwal said. Apart from erecting transmission lines, the officials also discussed power output of the two countries in the short and long terms, construction of substations at strategic locations, status of the projects that are crucial for enhancing power connectivity and the projects that can be expedited in the near future, according to Bhetwal. Nepal and India have proposed to construct six cross-border power corridors—Attariya-Uttarakhand, Lamki-Tikuniya, Kohalpur-Rupaidiha, Butwal-Gorakhpur, Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar and Inaruwa-Bihar—for easier and more efficient power trade. If the two sides come to a positive conclusion, these projects will be completed in course of time and will fall under their long-term strategy. The meeting’s conclusions and findings will be presented at a conference of the Joint Steering Committee scheduled for Friday. It will be headed by Energy Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma and India’s Power Secretary Pradeep Kumar Pujari. Though the first meeting of the joint mechanism was held in New Delhi in November 2014, it took a long time for the two sides to hold the second meeting. Nepal and India had signed the  historic PTA in October 2014. Following the implementation of the PTA on October 22, 2014, the two nations had formed two permanent mechanisms—Joint Working Group headed by the joint secretaries of the two countries and Joint Steering Committee headed by the secretaries—to monitor the existing areas of cooperation and explore and identify new areas. The meeting of the panels would be held every six months. The construction of the 400-kV cross-border transmission line between Muzaffarpur and Dhalkebar is at the final stages. Its completion will allow Nepal to import 90 MW of energy right away.