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21 months on, Nepal, India fail to meet again on Pancheshwar

Kathmandu, November 23

It has been 21 months since Nepal and India last held a joint meeting to discuss outstanding issues related to the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. However, the two governments are clueless about when they will meet next.

It has been over 25 years since the project was conceptualised, but up to now, they have not yet finalised the detailed project report.

The last joint meeting of expert groups between two countries was held in Kathmandu in February 2019. Now, it is New Delhi’s turn to host the meeting. But, it is not certain when it will take place.

A member of Nepal’s Water and Energy Commission says the escalated border dispute between the two countries might have affected the meeting schedule.

Nonetheless, a meeting of the governing body of the project was held in November last year. The governing body does not discuss outstanding issues except for some administrative affairs.

The dam site of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project was identified in 1956 by the Indian side. According to the 1971 report, it has the capacity of generating 1,000 megawatt electricity. The 1991 study showed that its total production would be 6,480 megawatts provided that a 315-metre high dam is constructed.

Nepal, in 1995, developed its detailed project report. India too conducted a study about the project on its own at the same time.

A bilateral agreement is required to implement the project in a border river. Despite several rounds of talks towards that end, no substantive progress has been achieved.

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