New Delhi: A meeting of the India-Nepal joint panel on water resources, to be held in Kathmandu on 28 September, is expected to focus not only on various outstanding projects but also on ways to control floods on both sides of the border.
“We will also discuss the inundation problems...we will strengthen parts of the barrage (on the Kosi river) wherever there are weaknesses,” said Umesh Narain Panjiar, India’s water resources secretary.
The Kosi river breached its embankments in early August, resulting in massive floods that left several people dead and thousands homeless in both countries.
The meeting, to be attended by the water resources secretaries of the two countries, will look at expediting work on the Pancheshwar project, Sapta Kosi project, Sun Kosi diversion scheme and Naumure hydropower dam, Panjiar said.
These projects will require significant investments that need to be borne by India, as Nepal does not have the resources. “The modalities for the project (Naumure) need to be worked out. We have submitted the scope of the project and are yet to hear from the Indian government on the same,” said Anup Upadhyay, joint secretary (hydropower), ministry of water resources, Nepal.
Similarly, Rajeshwar Man Sulpya, director of power trade department at the Nepal Electricity Authority, said: “While the work on the project, which can have lot of irrigation benefits for India, started long time back, nothing has been done on it.”
By constructing the Sapta Kosi, Sun Kosi and Pancheshwar projects, India will also aid power generation, irrigation development and flood control to prevent the floods that perennially affect Bihar.
“We are not power predators. Yes, we have a demand for power. We will import power only if they are comfortable selling that power to us. We will cooperate on mutually beneficial terms. The development of Nepal’s hydel resources should stimulate economic activity in Nepal,” said Jairam Ramesh, India’s minister of state for power and commerce.