India, Nepal Ink USD One Bn Hydropower Plant Deal

Manash Pratim Bhuyan and Priyanka Tikoo/Kathmandu
India, Nepal Ink USD One Bn Hydropower Plant Deal

India and Nepal today inked an agreement to construct a USD one billion hydropower plant on Arun river to generate 900-megawatt of electricity in the power starved Himalayan nation.

Under the pact, India's state-owned Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam will construct the mega power plant which will start generation of power by 2021.

Nepal, which has been grappling with severe power shortage, will receive around 22 per cent of the power generated from the plant free.

Nepal has a huge hydropower resources and India has been showing great interest in exploiting the untapped resources.

Calling for greater cooperation in diverse areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here to attend the SAARC summit beginning tomorrow, said, "When we trust each other, we can move forward very quickly."

"While earlier, the implementation of decisions used to take 10 years, now it happens in brief time. I feel very satisfied," Modi said, inaugurating a trauma centre.

Later, officials said India has started providing 70 MW of additional power to Nepal taking the total to 250 MW.

They said supply of the additional 70 MW started before the SAARC Summit.

Nepal suffers crippling electricity shortages and blackouts. It has huge untapped hydropower resources with a vast network of fast-flowing rivers through the Himalayas.

India is investing billions of dollars to develop hydropower in Nepal, which currently produces less than two per cent of its potential.

The latest deal comes after Indian infrastructure giant GMR agreed in September to build Nepal's first 900-megawatt hydropower plant.

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