India, Nepal discuss power projects

New DELHI, MAY 8 The visiting Nepalese Foreign Minister, Dr. C.P. Bastola, and the Union Water Resources Minister, Mr. C.P. Thakur, on Monday discussed the possibility of involving the private sector, besides the Government, in the development of power and trade between the two countries.

Mr. Bastola suggested working out modalities of development of hydro-power projects and the terms of power trade. It was felt that smaller projects could be immediately executed by Indian experts and the possibility of investment could also be explored. Both sides felt the need for generation of hydro- electricity at cheaper rates.

The two sides agreed on a two-year time-frame for the Joint Project Office on the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project on the Mahakali river for completion of detailed reports.

The Indian Government would undertake a comprehensive overview of various issues relating to implementation of the Mahakali treaty . Both sides recognised the need for resolving various issues on development of various water resource projects including the Sapta Kosi High dam, extension of embankments on the rivers Lalbakeya, Kamla, Bagmati and Khando in Nepal and establishment of remaining flood forecasting and warning stations on rivers common to both countries.

On the Nepal Minister's request for expeditious construction of embankments, Mr. Thakur hinted that the Centre might take over the task if State Government was slow in implementation. An Indian delegation led by Mr Thakur would visit Nepal in June to hold the next round of discussions.