Nepal and India reach 7-point deal on water resources

Kathmandu, September 24: Senior officials from Nepal and India have reached a seven-point agreement on water resources issues.

The agreement was reached here on Friday during the ninth meeting of the Joint Committee on Water Resources, co-chaired by Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganges Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Indian government; and Sagar Rai, Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.

The meeting decided to extend the duration and mandate of a group of experts formed to prepare the detailed report of the Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) project.

Pancheshwar is part of the Mahakali Treaty signed between Nepal and India in 1996 which was to generate 6,000 megawatts of power and irrigate thousands of lands between the two nations, but was not executed due to several differences between the two parts.

The formation of the PDA is essential to produce the power of the project which has been in limbo for decades.

The meeting also recalled India-Nepal Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation issued during Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to India in April 2022, in which the two Prime Ministers requested their officials concerned to speed up bilateral discussions with a view to the rapid finalization of the project. DPR, JCWR has extended the Terms of Reference of the Team of Experts (ToE) till March 2023 for the finalization of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project DPR and agreed to hold the 4th ToE meeting at the earliest, according to a statement published by the Embassy of India. Saturday at the end of the meeting.

According to another agreement, the two parties will send their permanent staff and office members within three months to continue the undersigned work for PDA.

The meeting also reached an agreement on the release of water in Nepal from the Tanakpur Dam. Mahakali River is known as Sarada in India.

These meetings thoroughly reviewed bilateral cooperation in the water sector between India and Nepal, including the implementation of the Mahakali Treaty, the Sapta Kosi-Sun Kosi project and cooperation in flood and inundation areas, according to another statement released by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, the progress of various bilateral committees, including the Joint Committee on Floods and Flood Management (JCIFM) and the Joint Committee on the Kosi and Gandak Project (JCKGP), was also discussed.

“It was agreed to advance the Sapta Koshi dam project through additional studies that take into consideration the planned upstream projects, the project flood zone as well as other social, environmental and technical aspects. joint team of experts is expected to convene soon,” the statement from the Indian Embassy said.

The two sides also discussed and reached agreement on issues related to the Sapta Koshi High Dam which will be located in Nepal, changing the parameters of the High Dam project, forming joint expert teams within a one year and adding more manpower in the bilateral framework. Mechanism in place for sharing data on floods and weather forecasts.

The Nepalese side thanked India for the assistance extended to Nepal regarding irrigation, flood management, flood control, river embankment works, etc.

The Indian side stressed the unique relationship between the two countries and the importance of proper management and utilization of water resources for mutual benefit, the statement from the Indian Embassy said.

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