After many years of delay and uncertainty India and Nepal on Monday resumed talks to build the 5600 MW Pancheshwar multipurpose hydro power project.
The talks are a follow up of an agreement reached between both nations during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit last month to set up a Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) within six months.
It was also agreed that the PDA would finalize the detailed project report (DPR) of the project located on the Mahakali River in the Indo-Nepal border and begin work within a year.
India’s water resources secretary Alok Rawat and Nepal’s energy secretary Rajendra Kishore Chettri are leading the delegations for the two-day meeting----the first since 2004.
The Pancheshwar project was part of the 1996 Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal. There has been lot of opposition to it from environmentalists citing vulnerability of the dam in an earthquake prone zone.
Besides addressing power needs, once completed the project it is expected to help irrigate large areas in north India and help mitigate floods.