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World Bank advises Nepal to export power to India

World Bank Country Director Ken Ohashi warns that a delay in constructing new hydro power projects will cost Nepal dearly.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2006 16:36 IST

Warning that delay in constructing new hydro power projects would cost Nepal dearly, the World Bank on Friday said the Himalayan nation should boost its economy by exporting power to energy-hungry India.

"If Nepal makes delays in making decisions in constructing new hydro power projects it will be very costly for the country," Ken Ohashi, World Bank Country Director in Nepal, said in his address at an international seminar on "Powering Nepal: Connecting Markets" here.

Pointing that the private sector can play a vital role in Nepal's power sector, he said its is high time the country mobilises necessary resources to export power to India, which can help Nepal boost its economy.

Osahi said the World Bank is prepared to facilitate power transaction between Nepal and India if both the governments request us.

"We can also provide advice on pricing and other technical matters through our experties to help power dealing in a fair and neutral way," said Ohashi.

Nepal has the potential to generate 83,000 MW hydro power out of which 44,000 MW is economically feasible.

However, the country is utilising about 600 MW hydro power, which is less than two per cent of its capacity.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat asked both domestic and international private sector investors to invest in the hydropower sector of Nepal.

He assured the government would implement financial sector reforms and introduce investment-friendly rules and regulations and appropriate policies to attract foreign direct investment in hydropower sector.

"We can at least generate 5,000 MW electricity in the next 10-15 years with foreign and domestic investments in the sector," he said.

In his address, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister KP Sharma Oli said the Seven Party government's foremost priority is to restore sustainable peace in the country and build solid democratic foundations for its nation building works.

"We are seriously engaged in the task of mainstreaming the Maoist rebels into a pluralistic competitive multiparty democratic system and convert the cease-fire into a permanent peace," he said.

US Ambassador to Nepal James F Moriarty said Nepal could contribute to energy security in the South Asian market.

"Nepal has the necessary hydro resources to meet its own needs and also to contribute to energy security in the broader South Asian market and now with the peace initiatives I hope that Nepal can meet these challenges," he said.

"If governments of Nepal and India smooth the way for production and export of Nepal's energy to India, the markets will create their own dynamic, their own synergies, to make this a reality," he observed.

Hydropower exports have already made an enormous difference in people's lives in nearby Bhutan and there is no reason why they cannot do the same here, he added.

About 140 participants from Nepal, India and USA attended the day-long seminar. Nine delegates from India attended the programme jointly organised by Government of Nepal, USAID and other non-governmental agencies.

First Published: Nov 03, 2006 16:36 IST