The Himalayan Times, February 02, 2020
The Indian government through its budget for next fiscal year 2020-21 has allocated INR 7.5 billion (Rs 12 billion) to finalise the detailed project report (DPR) of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP) and also to prepare DPR of the Sapta Koshi High Dam project.
As per the Union Budget of India, the DPR of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project will be finalised through joint efforts in coordination with the government of Nepal. It also states that preparatory works to prepare the DPR of the Sapta Koshi High Dam and Sub-Koshi Diversion Project will also be expedited.
The budget has stated that it will also cover the Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Project, which is being developed for flood control purposes.
It has said that due to the annual floods caused by various rivers flowing from Nepal, the Sapta Koshi High Dam project and Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Project will help to reduce the damage caused by floods and river erosion in selected river catchments.
On December 1 last year, highlevel officials from both countries had agreed to extend the tenure of the team of experts of the PMP by one year to December 2020 to finalise the DPR of the PMP. The DPR of the project has already been prepared by Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Ltd, an undertaking of the Indian government.
However, both the governments are yet to endorse it due to the issue of downstream benefits.
Both Nepal and India have agreed to give life to the 4,800-megawatt capacity multipurpose project, to be constructed on the Mahakali River of the Far-Western Province of Nepal along the India border.
The Pancheshwar Development Authority, which has been assigned the responsibility for the construction of the project, however, has yet to finalise the necessary policy documents, final bylaws, administration policy and human resources policy of the project development agreement.
The Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project was conceived under the Mahakali Treaty between Nepal and India in 1996. Apart from generating electricity, the project will provide irrigation facility to 0.13 million hectares of land in Nepal and 0.24 million hectares of land in India, in addition to other incidental benefits, including flood protection.
Meanwhile, on July 27 last year, government officials from Nepal and India held a meeting to discuss the problems created by the Koshi River, and proposed Koshi High Dam and Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Multipurpose Project. But, the 16th meeting of the joint team of experts was not able to make any concrete decision regarding the DPR of the project, among other issues.
However, the meeting had reviewed the progress made in areas of environmental impact assessment studies, resettlement and rehabilitation plan, Glacier Lake Outburst Flood studies, power potential studies, power system and power evacuation studies and drilling activities at Koshi High Dam site.
The ambitious multi-billion dollar project will provide irrigation facilities, control floods and generate 3,000 megawatts of electricity.