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Flood control and power sharing will also be discussed

Pending issues regarding the 6000 MW Pancheshwar project will figure high in the fifth joint committee meeting on water resource between India and Nepal to be held at the lakeside resort town of Pokhara from Friday.

world Updated: Nov 19, 2009 16:14 IST
Utpal Parashar

Pending issues regarding the 6000 MW Pancheshwar project will figure high in the fifth joint committee meeting on water resource between India and Nepal to be held at the lakeside resort town of Pokhara from Friday.

The two day secretary level meeting between the neighbours will also discuss all incomplete agendas including the Sapta Koshi high dam, the Sunkoshi diversion project as well flood control and power sharing.

"The main focus of the talks will be the Pancheshwar project on Mahakali river. We will discuss finalization of the joint detailed project report, water sharing and cost sharing," said SP Koirala, the Nepalese energy secretary.

While Koirala will lead the Nepalese team, the Indian delegation will be headed by UN Panjiar, secretary (water resources). The last JCWR meeting was held at New Delhi in March this year.

The Nepal government has already set up a Pancheshwar Development Authority for construction of the project and its final terms of reference would be discussed in detail in the meeting.

The ongoing power crisis in Nepal is one reason why the Madhav Kumar Nepal government wants to expedite completion of the project, but the opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist wants work to start only after the constitution-drafting process is over.

The Pancheshwar project is part of the Mahakali Treaty signed between both countries in 1996. It states that the cost of construction (estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crores) would be borne by both sides and power generated to be equally shared.

To tide over the winter energy crisis, Nepal wants to import an additional 80 MW of electricity from its neighbor. The Pokhara round of talks is likely to deliberate on this issue as well.