Bilateral power trade agreement renewed; India pours cold water on Nepal’s proposal

KATHMANDU, MARCH 28:  India has flatly rejected Nepal’s proposal while signing a bilateral power trade renewable agreement. As per the deal reached today, the Nepal Electricity Authority of the latter will import a total of 554 kW of electricity from the latter’s exchange market. Of this total, 500 MW will be brought through the Dhalkebar transmission line and 54 MW via Takanpur for the next three months, May and June.

The agreed period and amount of electricity to be traded are not something which Kathmandu proposed. ” We had asked New Delhi to renew the agreement for a year (not for merely for three months) by exporting a total of 650 MW of power. But the Indian side denied doing so in an unexpectedly unfriendly way,” a high-placed official of the Nepal Electricity Authority.     ‘However, we expect that it may not adversely affect the electricity supply in the domestic market.  Such an expectation has been bolstered by the country continuously receiving rain and snowfall for the last few days.” As most of the hydropower projects across the country are run-of-the-river in nature, their electricity generation capacity goes up when the river flows swell with the rainwater and snow melting.

Experts attribute the latest Indian posture regarding the power deal to two main developments The first one is a recent change in the political alliance in Nepal for running the government. A writ petition filed in the Supreme Court against the power trade agreement reached between Nepal and India in early January this year is the second factor.

Some two months back, Suryanath Upadhyay, former secretary, filed a writ stating that the deal which talks about  Nepal importing 10,000 MW of power from India in ten years is against the constitution of Nepal.    “These two factors seem to have prompted India to create hassles for Nepal while trading power.