India, Nepal agree to form joint task force on building hydropower project

India and Nepal on Thursday agreed to form a joint task force on a proposal to construct a hydropower project from investments of the two neighboring countries.

The task force will have a maximum of three members from both countries.

The agreement was reached at the 9th meeting of the Nepal-India Energy Secretary-Level Joint Steering Committee in Kathmandu, according to officials at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.

The meeting was co-chaired by Secretary of the Energy Ministry Debendra Karki from Nepal and Secretary of the Energy Ministry of India Alok Kumar.

Kumar, who was in Kathmandu to attend the IndiaNepal Joint Steering Committee meeting, also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Wednesday evening at the PM’s Official residence at Baluwatar.

During the meeting between Karki and Kumar, issues including existing transmission lines between the two countries, under-construction and proposed interstate transmission line, the Arun III hydropower and transmission line and interstate power trade were discussed, said Joint Secretary Chiranjivi Chataut.

Both sides agreed to increase the capacity of energy being imported and exported through the interstate 400 KV Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line. The 400 KV transmission line will span 140 kilometers (20 kilometers in Nepali territory and the remaining 120 in Indian territory).

The government of Nepal has to manage budget to construct the project on its side, as per the agreement.

India has taken a positive note of the proposal floated by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to export electricity to India. The NEA has requested India to approve the proposal to export 850 megawatts electricity to India prior to the coming monsoon.

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