KATHMANDU: Energy-starved Nepal needs to further strengthen cooperation with India for harnessing its abundant hydro-powerpotential that would benefit both the countries, experts said on Wednesday.
The remark was made by energy experts, government officials and politicians during a panel discussion as part of a two-day Power Summit 2013 that concluded here today.
They stressed on the need to hasten the pace of power projects being constructed by Nepalese and Indian companies and speed up completion of the cross border transmission lines along the Nepal-India border.
Former Finance Secretary Rameshwor Khanal underlined the need to develop a South Asian power grid and develop hydel power projects with a view to exporting power not only to India but also to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan by setting up regional transmission lines.
There should be multiple buyers and multiple sellers of the hydro-power and more foreign investment should be attracted in the power sector by creating conducive environment, he said.
The power developers should be allowed to sell surplus electricity wherever there is a market, Khanal added.
Former Minister for Water Resources Deepak Gyawali said people need cheap and reliable electricity and distribution system should be made effective so as to facilitate efficient power trade between Nepal and India.
Other panelists, including executive director of Nepal Investment Board Radhes Panta, said Nepal needs to sign a power trade agreement with India at the earliest and arrangement should be made so as to allow surplus electricity be sold to India.
They expressed the view that political stability and consistent policy are the prerequisites of hydro-power development of Nepal, which can bring economic prosperity for the country.
CPN-Maoist spokesperson Pampha Bhusal, however, stressed the need to forge national consensus before signing mega power projects with India. Nepal should safeguard its national interest and protect water rights while signing agreements to develop power projects with India, she said.
Nepal is rich in water resources with the potential to generate 83,000 MW of hydro-power. It currently generates 674 MW of hydro-power from the total installed capacity of 705 MW.
But the country is currently producing just 670 MW of electricity and facing hours of black out every day.