India and Nepal ink agreement on power trade
Ending months of speculation India and Nepal on Tuesdsay signed the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) to regulate electricity trade between the neighbouring nations.
The eight-point agreement effective for the next 25 years deals with power trade, cross-border transmission lines and grid connectivity.
Nepal’s energy secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri and his Indian counterpart Pradeep Kumar Sinha signed the document at a function held at Singha Darbar, the official seat of Nepal government.
“It is a historic moment. I am sure the PTA will throw up new vistas of cooperation in the power sector between India and Nepal,” Sinha told journalists after the signing ceremony.
As per the deal both sides agreed to set up permanent Joint Working Group and Joint Steering Committee headed by joint secretaries and secretaries respectively. Both committees will meet twice every year.
These two bodies will monitor all ongoing works in the power sector and explore new areas of cooperation.
“The PTA will help both countries go forward in our endeavour to supply power 24/7 to all consumers in our countries,” Sinha stated.
Terming the agreement as path breaking Nepal’s energy secretary Kshatri said it will create opportunities for power trade among all neighbouring countries in the South Asian region.
“To sell power Nepal needs a market. The deal will provide us non-discriminatory access to the Indian market. Till we generate surplus power, we will be able to import it to tide over our needs,” he said.
India assured financial and technical assistance in upgrading the transmission lines between both countries so that Nepal is able to tide over its crippling power crisis with more import of power beginning the end of next year.
At present Nepal imports nearly 200 MW from India, but the figure could increase after the Dhalkebar-Muzzafarpur transmission line is completed. Once Nepal starts generating surplus power within the next 6-7 years, the same transmission lines will be used to export power to India.