Nepal, India water resources secretary level talks from Friday

Implementation of Mahakali, Gandaki and Kosi agreements is the main agenda

KATHMANDU: The water resources secretary-level meeting, which is a joint mechanism to work on issues related to water resources management and flood control between Nepal and India, will be held in Kathmandu from Friday.

A meeting of Joint Standing Technical Committee (JSTC) on water resources of the two countries started from Wednesday and will continue for Thursday, while a meeting of Secretary-level Joint Committee on Water Resources (JCWR) will be held on Friday.

This meeting will discuss the status of implementation of treaties and agreements signed by the two countries at different times for water resource management. The overall status of the agreement between the two countries related to water resources will be discussed.

In particular, issues such as embankment, flood control and inundation areas in various rivers, flood compensation and structures to be constructed jointly will be discussed,” said Madhu Prasad Vetuwal, joint secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, “mainly Saptakosi High Dam, Pancheshwar, Sunkosi-Kamala, Gandaki and Kosi. The subject of the agreement will be raised in the discussion.’

In every JCWR meeting, the implementation of issues related to Mahakali, Gandaki and Kosi accords has been the main agenda. But in its implementation, indifference has been seen from both sides.

The issues which were said to have been agreed upon in the eighth meeting of JCWR held in New Delhi on January 11, 2019 have not been resolved yet. The meeting agreed for the construction of Tanakpur-Mahendranagar canal and Tanakpur-Mahendranagar link road.

But that subject is also kept on the agenda of the ninth meeting. The operational modality of the canal built from Tanakpur barrage to the Nepal-India border and the issue of making the Tanakpur-Mahendranagar link road have been kept as agenda again in the current meeting.

Nepal has also raised the issue of releasing water for irrigation facilities in Dodhara Chandni area. In the eighth meeting of JCWR, India agreed to provide irrigation facilities to Chandni-Dodhara region by constructing a subsidiary canal from Sarada main canal. But the agreement has not yet been implemented. Chandni-Dodhara region has been deprived of irrigation facilities. Although the Mahakali Treaty covers these issues, India has been lagging in its implementation.

The meeting will also discuss the status of implementation of the agreement between the two countries on the Kosi and Gandaki projects. Due to the Kosi High Dam, Nepal has been saying that it should get compensation because the land is inundated. The Nepali side has been demanding compensation for the damage caused to Nepalese land and crops due to the Gandak Dam.

According to the Kosi Agreement, it was mentioned that India would provide compensation to the people affected by the construction of the Kosi Barrage and money for their management. In the eighth meeting of JWRC, Nepal demanded Rs 50 crore as compensation from the Indian side.

Similarly, Nepal has been demanding compensation for the destruction of crops due to the flooding of Nepalese territory due to the Gandak Dam. In the previous meeting, Nepal claimed that such compensation amount is equal to 3 billion rupees. But the Indian side has been saying that the money cannot be given because there is no such compensation provision in the Gandak agreement.

The issue of embankment of Khando, Banganga and West Rapti rivers, problems caused by Mahakali Sagar Dam, problem caused by Mahakali river to erode Bhujela village and pollution problem in Rohini river will also be discussed in the meeting.

As the Indian side has built more than 5 dozen dams to affect the natural flow of the river, the Nepalese territory has been inundated. This meeting will also discuss the status of implementation of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.

As part of the implementation of the Mahakali Agreement, the DPR of the Pancheshwar project is to be finalized by the Joint Expert Group (Team of Experts), so the meeting of the said mechanism has not been held for a long time.

The expert group, which consists of the Secretary of Water and Energy Commission of Nepal and the Secretary of Energy Commission of India, does not seem to have achieved any achievement in the matter of finalizing the DPR of Mahakali.

Even after almost three decades of the Mahakali agreement, Pancheswar has not been able to move forward. According to the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Nepal and India have disagreements on 126 points regarding Pancheswar. As most of these disputes are said to be settled by the expert group through DPR, all those issues have been stalled because the expert group itself could not work.

Fiscal Nepal |
Thursday September 22, 2022, 02:16:28 PM |

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