On April 2, 2023, the Kathmandu Post (newspaper agency of Nepal) quoting Nepali officials reported that Nepalese PM Prachanda will be visiting India after the second week of April.
The main objective of Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) visit is to New Delhi is to sign an electricity deal between India and Nepal for a period of twenty-five years.
However, the official date of Prachanda’s trip to India is yet to be announced.
The report (Kathmandu Post) quoted a senior official from the Energy Ministry who said that “We are preparing a proposal for the Indian Side on the 25-year agreement. But a lot depends on the whether the Indian side agrees to include our proposal in the agenda.”
As per Dinesh Ghimire, the secretary at the ministry, the issue of the long-term intergovernmental agreement is under discussion at the ministry, but is yet to be forwarded to Nepal’s foreign ministry to make it an agenda item of Prachanda’s trip.
He said that such an agreement will be signed only if the Indian Side gives it a nod at the bureaucratic level before Prachanda reaches New Delhi.
In late February, Nepal proposed a deal during the 10th Secretary level meeting of the Joint Steering Committee (JSC) on Energy Cooperation in India.
At the JSC Meeting in Mount Abu (Rajasthan), Nepal and India inked an agreement to increase the power import and export capacity through the Dhalkebar-Muzzafarpur transmission lines from 600-800 Megawatts (MW)
Additionally, both India and Nepal also signed an agreement to import and export 70-80 MW electricity from Tanakpur- Mahendranagar 130KV power transmission.
They agreed to set up necessary requirements and mechanisms to export power from Nepal to Bihar during the rainy season through the 132KV transmission line.
“During the meeting it was decided that Nepal would make a proposal which India would examine.” said Prabal Adhikari, a Power Trade Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and a member of Nepali delegation.
As per Adhikari, an inter-Governmental agreement could also pave way for the selling power to India, irrespective of whether a third country has invested or involved in the project.
Currently, Nepal is allowed to sell 452.6MW electricity generated by ten hydropower projects in the Indian Power Markets. Nepal is awaiting approval for more projects from Indian Authorities to export electricity.
India is also refusing to buy electricity from projects that involve Chinese investors or contractors. Nepal produces surplus energy during the wet (summer season) while it has to buy electricity from India during the dry season (winter).
The Managing Director of NEA, Kul Man Ghising believes that the country will be self sufficient in hydropower even during the dry season by the year 2026.