Kathmandu, October 20 2014: The momentum in Nepal-India cooperation in the energy sector seems set to pick up, with Investment Board Nepal (IBN) expediting the signing of the Project Development Agreement (PDA) for the 900MW Arun III hydropower project with Indiaâ€™s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited.
Sources privy to the latest development say preparations are underway to sign the PDA during the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on November 22-27.
IBN chief executive officer Radhesh Pant confirmed the PDA draft was sent to Satluj on October 4. â€œWe are in negotiation with Satluj for the past one and half years,â€ said Pant. â€œThe recently concluded PDA with GMR-ITD Consortium has established a framework, based on which the PDA of Arun III will be concluded.â€
According to IBN officials, the Satluj team is likely to arrive in Nepal after Tihar. An IBN team is on a field visit in Sankhuwasbha district, where the project is based. The Financial Express, an Indian newspaper, reported
in its online edition on Saturday that Indiaâ€™s Power Secretary PK Sinha is slated to travel to Nepal this week to finalise the PDA.
Nepalâ€™s Energy Ministry officials, however, said they were not sure whether the negotiations on the Arun PDA would take place during Sinhaâ€™s visit. But the two sides will formally endorse the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) during Sinhaâ€™s visit, they added. The PTA document was initialled in New Delhi last month and Cabinets of both Nepal and India have endorsed it.
The Nepal government and Satluj had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of Arun III in March 2008.