KHATMANDU: Nepal and India are close to finalising the detailed project report (DPR) of the much-talked-about Pancheswar Multipurpose Project during the meeting of team of experts that was formed by the governing body of Pancheswar Development Authority (PDA), in New Delhi, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The team of experts meeting of Nepal and India led by Madhusudan Adhikari, secretary of the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat and Narendra Kumar, chairman of the Central Water Commission of India has finalised most of the technical aspects of the DPR. However, the issue of benefit-sharing has not been concluded as the Indian side has proposed to keep existing water flows for lower Sharada irrigation project.
Analysing the hydrological series from 1962 to 2012, Nepal and India agreed to fix 925-megawatt firm capacity of the project. Earlier, WAPCOS Ltd, a government of India undertaking, had submitted a study report that the firm power can be fixed at only 725 megawatts. Nepal had reservations on the study submitted by WAPCOS.
According to Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, joint secretary at the Ministry of Energy and one of the members of the team of experts, both sides have principally agreed to fix 925 megawatts as the firm capacity and Nepal will get half of the energy generated from the project. Nepal will benefit from energy and India can reap benefits of the irrigation facility and flood control through this project.
As India has proposed existing water flows at lower Sharada irrigation project, Nepali side has told the Indian side that the matter can be resolved if India pledges to compensate Nepal with electricity. Nepal has also stuck to its stand to develop the Pancheswar project abiding by all the provisions of the Mahakali treaty, as per Ghimire.
Though the meeting of the team of experts did sort out issues related to technical aspects, the meeting ended inconclusively as it failed to gather consensus on benefit-sharing issues. The next meeting of the team of experts is expected to finalise the benefit-sharing issues through which Nepal and India will finalise the share of investment in the project.
Nepal and India first talked about developing the Pancheswar Multipurpose Project in 1995 and the energy secretary-level talks in 2014 had taken the initiative to finalise the DPR of the project. Finalisation of DPR was given priority during Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s recent visit to India. The joint communiqué issued by the prime ministers of Nepal and India has mentioned about finalising the DPR of the Pancheswar Multipurpose Project within a month. However, authorities have said Nepal and India have several differences in the principal aspects of benefit-sharing.
As per Joint Secretary Ghimire, the next meeting of the team of experts may finalise the DPR of the project to expedite the multipurpose project.