‘Political transition in Nepal delayed Pancheshwar dam'

India and Nepal have agreed to speed up the setting up of a Pancheshwar Development Authority that will oversee the implementation of the 6,000 MW Pancheshwar multi-purpose project on the border.

During the first meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Ministerial Commission on Water Resources here, the Nepalese delegation gave its terms of reference. India will come back with its views with regard to the constitution of the Authority, its location and finances.

Addressing a joint press conference, Nepalese Energy Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati said, “political transition period in his country had delayed the water projects, including the Pancheshwar and Sapta Kosi High dam” on common rivers with India.

Leader of the Indian delegation Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said India had agreed to carry maintenance of the 15 km stretch of eastern Kosi embankment within the Nepalese territory. So far this was being done by Nepal. The life of the entire stretch of the embankment on the Indian side depends on the repairs on the Nepal side. A breach in the Kosi embankment had caused major floods in Bihar in 2008.

Bihar Government's representative, Water Resources Minister Vijay Chaudhary raised the issue of maintenance of Kosi embankments in a wildlife sanctuary located in Nepal. The two sides decided to look into the matter.

India will also “study” the demand for compensation sought of crops and damage to land for water resources projects.

India also responded positively to Nepal's request for power from India. It was agreed to expedite the process for implementation of medium-term strengthening works for additional power supply to Nepal.

The two sides agreed to fast track the completion of the Detailed Project Report of Sapta Kosi High dam and the Sun Kosi Storage-cum-Diversion scheme by February, 2013. The Joint Project Office for the purpose shall be adequately strengthened.

Taking note of the difficulties being faced in carrying out the various works on Kosi and Gandak projects, the Commission asked the official-level Joint Committee on Water Resources to look into the problems. “There were some concerns on the Nepal side about duty-free movement of materials and equipment works under the Gandak project ,” Mr. Bansal pointed out.

The Commission expressed satisfaction with the “excellent cooperation” between the two countries in flood management and acknowledged the need for similar understanding on other trans-boundary rivers causing flood and inundation in both countries.

It recommended fast tracking of the finalisation of the draft Memorandum of Understanding on Cross Border Interconnection for Electric Power Trade Agreement with Nepal including a cross border transmission line for joint development.

The Nepalese delegation included their Minister for Irrigation Mahendra Prasad Yadav.

Setting up of Pancheshwar Development Authority to be speeded up

India may supply power to Nepal