Not responsible for Nepal’s energy crisis: India

    By IANS,

    Kathmandu : India has made clear that it was not responsible for the chronic shortage of energy in the Himalayan country at a time when officials here are struggling to control outages.

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    However, India said it will help reducing power shortage in Nepal and some concrete steps have been taken.

    According to media reports in Nepal, load shedding has increased since India ignored its commitment and did not grant permission to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for upgrading transmission lines in Indian territory.

    NEA, which is the only state agency that generates and distributes power in the country, said normally the power demand in Nepal goes up to 100 MW during the dry season as compared to the wet season.

    The drop-off in electricity generation owing to the decreasing water level in rivers has been blamed for the extended rolling blackout.

    Outages during the winter last year had gone up to 16 hours a day.

    To meet the power requirements, Nepal had reached several understandings with India on importing power from various cross border junctions.

    “Change of conductors in Kushaha (Nepal)-Kataiya (India) 132 KV Cross-Border Transmission line was one of the medium term measures to improve power situation in Nepal identified by an India- Nepal Joint Team of Technical experts in November 2011,” the Indian Embassy here said in a statement.

    In July 2013, NEA had requested India’s consent to re-conductor the Indian portion of transmission line also through a Nepalese contractor.

    The approval of Bihar State Power Transmission Company (BSPTC) was received September 2013 and of the Ministry of External Affairs October 2013.

    NEA has made a request for permission to the Nepalese contractor for transporting the required construction equipment and materials from Nepal to the work site in India and exempt customs duty on third country origin conductor which would be installed in the Indian segment of the transmission line.

    “However, officials of the Indian Embassy have explained in their meetings with NEA officials over the last one month that for the proposed export of construction equipment and materials, an Indian importer having Import Export Code (IEC) would be required to be appointed,” the embassy statement said.

    “For making any import into India and also for considering customs exemption on such imports an importer with a valid IEC would be required. However, response to this has not been received from NEA despite repeated requests.”

    “The matter has now been formally communicated to the Nepal government. Mission will be able to process the request of NEA with the India government only after receipt of this information from NEA,” it added.

    NEA has the option to expedite the contract by complying with existing legal requirements in India. In that case, there would have been no delay in the project, the embassy said.

    “Government of India has taken concrete steps to reduce load shedding in Nepal by supplying maximum possible electricity on the existing transmission lines and by helping to augment cross border grid connectivity to increase this quantum up to 250 MWs,” the statement said.