Unrestrictive power exchange in SAARC region stressed

Kathmandu: Experts and stakeholders Friday said that the restrictive policy of India in exchanging electricity with Nepal was the main obstacle for the development of hydroelectricity in Nepal.

They said that the government of India had treated electricity as a strategic commodity and introduced a very restrictive policy to import electricity produced in Nepal.

speaking at an interaction programme organised by Embassy of Bangladesh in Kathmandy they said that such restrictive policy of southern neighbor was limiting the investment potential in mega hydropower projects of Nepal.

Maha Prasad Adhikari, chief executive officer of Investment Board of Nepal, said that Nepal had lost investments in many mega hydropower projects due to the lack of confidence in cross-border exchange of electricity produced in the country.

Despite the interest of foreign investors in hydropower project, the investment has not been realized in lack of assurance of cross-border market, he said.

He said that the government was effortful creating favourable investment environment in the country by simplifying policies and procedures, expanding connectivity and assuring security of investments.

He said that the government has given the high priority to the hydropower sector for achieving the double digits growth target.

He said that the signing of memorandum of understanding for cooperation in energy with Bangladesh would be crucial for the development of hydropower of Nepal.

Visiting Bangladeshi Minister of State for Electricity, Energy and Mineral Resources, Narsul Hamid underlined the need of energy cooperation among the member countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for the development of the region.

He said that the SAARC region needs to make a free market zone for the energy to share the benefits of hydropower generation potential of the region.

Nepal and Bhutan can be the richest countries of the SAARC region if they became able to tap their hydroelectricity generation potential, he said.

Bangladesh will need around 60,000 MW electricity by 2040, therefore Nepal can export hydroelectricity to address the electricity demand of Bangladesh, he said.

He said that the Bangladesh was working for tri-lateral agreement among Nepal, India and Bangladesh for the exchange of hydroelectricity.

The government of Bangladesh itself and the private sector are ready to invest millions of dollar in Nepal for the development of hydropower, he said.

Sailendra Guragai, president of Independent Power Producers Association Nepal (IPPAN) said that the private sector of Nepal was ready to cooperate with Bangladeshi counterpart to invest in the hydropower sector of Nepal.

Immediate past president of IPPAN Khadga Bahadur Bista said that the policy incorporated by the India to purchase electricity from Nepal was strategic and restrictive and it should be reviewed for the development of hydropower in Nepal.