India-Nepal venture pursues five projects

India Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde reports the joint hydropower development venture of India and neighboring Nepal is focusing on five major Nepal hydro projects on rivers flowing into India.

In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament, Shinde said projects in the works include 480-MW Karnali multi-purpose, 6,400-MW Pancheshwar multi-purpose, 3,400-MW Sapta Kosi multi-purpose and 10-MW Sun Kosi diversion scheme, 600-MW Burhi Gandaki project, and 300-MW Upper Karnali project.

The minister said the projects only can be implemented after completion of detailed project reports, if the projects are found to be technically and economically viable, and after mutual agreements are signed between the two countries.

The neighboring nations have explored joint hydro initiatives for several years. Officials of Nepal and India agreed in 1999 to establish a joint project office in Kathmandu, Nepal, from which to study Pancheshwar, on the Mahakali River on their common border.

India plan would add 17,000 MW of hydro

Within India itself, the government plans to add about 17,000 MW of hydropower generation in the 11th Five-Year Plan under consideration by the government.

Shinde told the Rajya Sabha, Parliament’s upper house, that a portfolio of 58 hydroelectric projects totaling 17,579 MW has been tentatively identified for pursuit in the coming five years.

The power minister told the upper house August 14 that the central government is encouraging greater participation by private companies in development of hydro projects. However, in response to questioning, he said no specific bids for private company participation are under way at this time.

India’s Electricity Act of 2003 allows any generating company, including private companies, to establish, operate, and maintain a generating station without obtaining a license under the act, if it complies with technical standards relating to grid interconnection. However, approval of the Central Electricity Authority is required for hydropower projects.

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