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India Nepal News: Big success for India in Nepal, three countries including China abandoned the hydropower project, now it will be completed

Kathmandu: Nepal has handed over West Seti Hydroelectric Project and Seti River Project to India for development. Nepal had earlier offered this project worth 19 thousand crore rupees to China. However, China withdrew from this project four years ago. After which Nepal started talks with India to develop it. Following which the Nepal Investment Board on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India’s state-owned NHPC Ltd to develop two projects – West Seti and Seti River (SR6). A total of 1200 MW electricity will be generated from these two projects. In Nepal, it is being seen as an attempt to mend poor relations with India after Sher Bahadur Deuba became Prime Minister.

What is the purpose of this project?
According to a Kathmandu Post report, the 750 MW Paschim Seti and 450 MW SR6 projects are spread across four districts of far-western Nepal – Bahang, Doti, Dadeldhura and Achham. According to a 2007 study, the West Seti project is envisioned to generate electricity throughout the year, storing maximum river water during the rainy season and generating more electricity during peak demand during the summer season. Sushil Bhatta, CEO, Board of Investment, Nepal and Abhay Kumar Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, NHPC Limited, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations in Kathmandu on Thursday.

Nepali PM Deuba mentioned PM Modi
Speaking on the occasion, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said that the agreement will serve as an important tool to enhance Nepal-India energy cooperation. He said that the implementation of these projects will help in increasing and strengthening bilateral trade and investment. Deuba pointed out that during my recent visit to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I agreed on a vision statement on cooperation in the power sector, emphasizing the need to strengthen mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in this area. .

Deuba thanked the Government of India
Prime Minister Deuba said that during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Lumbini, we had a fruitful discussion on the matter and I invited interested companies from India for the development of West Seti Hydroelectric Project. Deuba thanked the Government of India for opening the electricity market for Nepal. He said that I am sure that our close neighbor India will increase the import of additional electricity from Nepal. In this context, I am of the view that we should start construction of some more cross-border transmission lines with due priority. This will help develop more projects and promote cross-border power trade for the benefit of both our countries and people.

A detailed project report will be submitted within two years
According to the agreement, the Indian developer will have to apply for a survey license for the Western Seti project within 45 days of signing the agreement. For an SR6 project the developer must apply for a survey license within six months. Once the survey license is granted, the developer has to complete Detailed Project Reports (DPR) within two years and submit them to the Board of Investment Nepal. In the detailed project report, the developer has to state whether the projects are storage type, semi storage type, combined or separated, including the cost of the projects.

This project was conceived six decades ago
The Paschim Seti project was conceived almost six decades ago. It is located on the Seti River in far western Nepal. The proposed dam site is located 82 km above the confluence of Seti and Karnali rivers, which are part of the Ganges basin. As soon as Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected Prime Minister in July last year, his government decided to push these projects forward. A panel was constituted under the chairmanship of Biswo Nath Paudel, Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission to take forward the projects.

French and Australian companies pulled back
The project was first handed over to a French company in the 1980s, though it dropped out. After this, Australia’s Snow Mountain Engineering Corporation won the survey license in 1994. After which Nepal issued a construction license to West Seti Hydro on 27 June 1997 in the name of this Australian company. The project was designed with an export perspective, 90 percent of which was to be sold to India. However, the Australian company never started construction. After this China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CMEC) decided to invest in this project.

Two Chinese companies showed interest
CMEC signed an agreement with the project in 2009 during then Prime Minister Madhav Kumar’s visit to Nepal to China. At that time, CMEC chairman Jia Zhiqiang and West Seti Hydro director Himalaya Pandey signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing. The Chinese firm had decided to invest Rs 15 billion in the project. CMEC later pulled out of the project saying Nepal lacked an investment-friendly environment. After this, in the year 2012, the company that runs China’s Three George Dam was handed over to Three George International Corporation.

The project with China was canceled in 2018
In November 2017, the Nepal Electricity Authority entered into a definitive agreement with China Three George International Corporation, a subsidiary of China Three George Corporation, to establish a joint venture to develop the 750 MW Key West Seti project. In 2018, China Three Gorges Corporation indicated that it was not financially capable of bearing the cost of rehabilitation during the construction of the project, indicating that it would withdraw from the project. Subsequently, in September 2018, the Government of Nepal canceled this agreement with China Three George Corporation.

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