The government of India and Nepal have reached an agreement to form a joint task force on a proposal to construct a hydropower project with joint investment of both nations.
The agreement was reached at the ninth meeting of the Nepal-India energy secretary-level joint steering committee here today, said Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Chiranjibi Chataut.
As per the agreement, a joint technical team will be formed to carry out the study as per the proposal made by India.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation state that Nepal and India have agreed to form a joint technical team consisting of three members from each country to construct a large hydropower project.
The meeting discussed the existing transmission lines between the two countries, under construction and proposed interstate transmission lines, Arun III hydropower and transmission line, and interstate power trade.
The two sides have agreed to increase the volume of electricity to be traded through the 400kV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line to 600MW from the current 350MW.
During the meeting, there was an agreement to increase the volume of power to be traded through this transmission line once the 400kV Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa transmission line is completed. It is expected to be complete by December 2023.
In addition, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and the Power Grid Corporation of India would set up a joint company by April 2022 for the construction of the cross-border New Butwal Gorakhpur transmission line.
The 400 KV transmission line will span 140 kilometres (20 km in Nepali territory and the remaining 120 km in Indian territory).
The government of Nepal has to manage the budget to construct the project on its side.
Exporting more power to India before the onset of the monsoon was one of the agenda items of the joint secretary-level joint working group and secretary-level joint steering committee meetings between the two countries held on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, in Kathmandu.
This comes at a time when Nepal is caught in a dilemma over the Millennium Challenge Corporation-Nepal Compact. It is a $500 million US grant to Nepal to be used in the construction of electricity transmission lines and road maintenance.