|India halts power supply deal|
KATHMANDU, April 24: The action initiated by the Maoist-led government against army chief General Rookmangud Katawal and the polarized views of the political parties on the issue have now affected the power import deal between Nepal and India.
The Indian government on Thursday put on hold the agreement to supply 30 MW power to Nepal just two days before it was supposed to be signed.
"We had finalized everything from our side. But the agreement has now been put on hold," a Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) official told this daily.
The source informed that as per the request of the Bihar Board, a letter requesting government of India´s approval on the agreement was sent to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi through the Indian embassy in Kathmandu on April 22. However, the Ministry did not send a consent to the request.
A week ago, the NEA had forwarded a memorandum of understanding to the Power Board of Bihar to import the additional 30 MW of electricity at the rate of IRs 4.79 per unit for a period of two months.
“Both sides had settled all issues and conditions for the import,” the source added.
The Power Trading Corporation (PTC) of India was making necessary arrangements for the import to Nepal via Ramnagar in Bihar.
The development comes amid reports that the Indian government has been inserting pressure on the Maoist-led government in Nepal against the dismissal of the army chief.
Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood on Thursday flew to New Delhi, canceling all appointments here, to brief the South Block on the ´current developments´ in Nepal.
Meanwhile, the board meeting of the NEA on Thursday awarded Korea Nuclear and Hydro Power (KNHP), a Korea-based company, the contract to construct the electro-mechanical and transmission lines of the 30-MW Chameliya Hydroelectric Project (CHP) in Darchula. The KNHP was the sole bidder after Samsung backed out of the project in February. The cost of the project is estimated at US$ 50 million.