Wapcos asks for more time to upgrade data

- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu
The project to be developed on Mahakali River is expected to generate 6,720 MW energy and irrigate 93,000 hectares of land

Nov 21, 2015-Indian company Wapcos Limited has asked for another three months to complete the task of upgrading data for the integration of the two detailed project reports (DPRs) of the Pancheswar Multipurpose Project prepared separately by Nepal and India. 

Wapcos has been given two earlier time extensions. It started work in April and was supposed to finish it by October-end. When it missed the deadline, it was given an extra two months till December. 

A meeting held in Kathmandu headed by former energy secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri and Alok Rawat, Indian Water Resource Secretary, in September last year, had ordered Wapcos to finish the task of data integration within six months. The meeting had also endorsed the statute of the Pancheswar Development Authority,

“Data integration is one of the important components of the DPR. The Indian company has asked for an additional three months to complete the task, and we have been giving thought to extending the deadline,” said outgoing Energy Secretary Kshatri. 

A Cabinet meeting on Thursday evening had decided to transfer Kshatri to the Office of the Vice-President. 

The upgradation and integration of the data is one of the most crucial components of the DPR. Nepal and India had separately prepared two different DPRs more than one and a half decades ago. 

Since several aspects including the geology and construction techniques, among others, have changed since then, both the countries are allotting the maximum time for compiling and verifying the data. 

Government authorities said that various aspects like the cost of the project, geological aspect, techniques to be used and project commissioning date could be analyzed only after the data is upgraded and integrated. 

The energy secretary also co-chairs the governing body of the Pancheswar Development Authority along with the Indian counterpart. The two ministries, according to Kshatri, have been making preparations to hold the third meeting after November 23 or December 5. 

“The Indian side has proposed these two dates. The ministry has been considering which date will be the most suitable, and a meeting will be held soon,” said Kshatri, adding that the meeting would make a formal decision over extending the deadline for Wapcos. The third meeting of the governing council will be held in Kathmandu.

According to outgoing secretary Kshatri, there has been no impact on the project even though Nepal-India relations have hit rock bottom recently. 

“We are in regular touch with the Indian authorities, and there seems to be no bureaucratic impact,” Kshatri said. “Both the sides are committed to completing the DPR.”  

The Pancheswar Multipurpose Project to be developed on the Mahakali River marking the Nepal-India border is expected to generate 6,720 MW of energy and irrigate 93,000 hectares of land in Nepal and 1.6 million hectares in India.

Nepal and India had exchanged the terms of reference during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kathmandu in August 2014. 

This provided a shot in the arm to the project which had been envisaged by the Mahakali Treaty signed 18 years ago.In an address to Nepal’s Parliament, Modi had said that the much-delayed project would move forward within a year.

Published: 21-11-2015 09:11

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