Nepal-India PTA talks begin today

- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu
Nepal-India PTA talks begin today

Sep 2, 2014-

Nepal and India are all set to start negotiations on power trade on Wednesday. A seven-member Nepali delegation headed by Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri is leaving for New Delhi on Wednesday for a meeting on power trade agreement (PTA) with India.

The Cabinet on Tuesday authorised the team to hold the negotiations and sign initials. “We have been given the authority to take forward the negotiation and conclude the agreement,” said Kshatri. “The initials could be done during this meeting which will be later approved by the Cabinets of the two countries.”

With the Cabinet’s authorisation, Kshatri expressed hope a substantial progress could be achieved at the meeting.

Nepal and India had agreed to conclude the negotiations within 45 days during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit. After a draft of the power cooperation agreement forwarded by India turned controversial, the Nepali side had sent a new proposal on the PTA to India just ahead of Modi’s Nepal visit.

A three-member cross-party panel had prepared the new PTA draft and forwarded it to India for its approval, hoping to have an agreement signed during Modi’s visit. However, the countries failed to sign the pact.

Kshatri-led team has been asked to hold the talks based on the new PTA draft. The draft states the power tariff will be determined by the market while third parties will not be barred from making power deals in Nepal and India. It also states the agreement will be valid for 25 years and it can be extended on the basis of mutual consent.

Sources say the new draft has incorporated several aspects like the Investment Operative Guideline 2009 of the World Trade Organisation, which states companies of both the countries should get equal facilities, and the provision of non-discriminatory access, which bars the Indian side from giving priority to Indian companies at the cost of Nepali firms.

A formal agreement between Nepal and India will enable both the nations to trade electricity like any other commodities. Nepal had proposed a PTA with India in 2010. After a four-year dilly-dallying, the Indian side reverted the draft sent by the Nepali side by naming it as a “cooperation” in the power sector.

Published: 03-09-2014 09:31

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