Friday, April 24, 2009

RE: India halts power supply deal (Ha!! I told you so....)

April 24, 2009

Dipak Gyawali
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology


Thanks for forwarding interesting news. Later during the day other papers too have reported about it.

However, it will take a while for it to dawn on most of our hydrocracy (bureaucracy, politicos, intelligentsia, media persons, business community, bankers involved in the hydropower sector) that export of power to Nepal is an additional weapon in Indian arsenal for her against Nepal (as is the trade and transit) to ensure that Nepal toes the line, they want her to. I dare to trust that people in Nepal haven’t forgotten (although “people” are famed to have very short memory) about the trade embargo and transit blockade that India imposed on Nepal in late 80’s leading to “people’s movement I”. What ensued is in the pages of history obviating repetition here.

In the same vein, when I read about Nepal’s plan to import 500 MW from India, while I was vacationing in Vientiane with my brand new granddaughter, I had tears in my eyes trying to stop myself from laughing uncontrollably for quite a while. This was exactly what I was worried about – India using “power” (electric) to have Nepal dance to their tunes (according to their caprices). Besides, I felt sad and also felt like smiling (simultaneously!) at the tragicomic situation, after reading that PTC has offered a “generous” rate of INR 3 while Nepal is set to export at NPR 3 – offering a handsome markup of 60% straight (how magnanimous we are!). Eventually they will be importing from Nepal at Rs 3 and export the same to us at Rs 4.80 – reinforcing the firmly held belief in Indian politicos and bureaucracy that Nepali people are nice and, therefore, dumb (except for those who sell their souls for “a few silvers”).

An interesting thing about the “halt” is that it is Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi that has thrown wrench in the works. It is surprising that simple export of power to Nepal requires approval of Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. However, hydrocracy of Nepal deems export of power normal trade (simply trading in “electron”) and they proclaim that exporting power does not have anything to do with water resources (even Supreme Court of Nepal has delivered a verdict in this line in the case of west Seti. When reference is being made to west Seti, it needs to be remembered that Nepal wasn’t importing 30 MW dedicated power from a specific project. However, west Seti it is dedicated export oriented project. What is more galling is that west Seti generates augmented flow of 90 m3/s which ends up benefiting farmers in India (can irrigate 270,000 ha land for non paddy cultivation), but the deal, even from this perspective was deemed not sharing of water resources.

This also calls on us to look at the other side of this very coin (export of power to India). Intransigent people (including those who would like to replicate Bhutan model in Nepal) dream of having India “jump” at our bidding by exporting power to her as she will be dependent on “us” for substantial amount of power from large plants – up to 10,000 MW from Karnali (and making Nepal "immensely" rich). I have pointed out the fallacy behind this belief in my article published in Nepali Times (# 314, 8-14 September, 2006) as “India is uncomfortable being dependent on an independent Nepal on such a scale. The comfort level would have gone up significantly if the security of such a project is to be guaranteed by the Indian Army.” With regard to Bhutan, being a protectorate of India, India does not feel uncomfortable being dependent on her. I hope I don’t need to overemphasize it here by saying that Indians would hate to lose sleep by having to wonder when someone in Nepal is going to switch off power from plants in Nepal exporting to India (exactly the reverse of what they have just done to Nepal suffering from chronic load shedding). In view of this, the idea of dedicated export oriented power plants in Nepal for India will never work as long as Nepal will fail to graciously accept Indian security arrangement of such plants in Nepal. I have gone on to opine in that article that “But Nepali people are famous for their “intransigence” in this matter” (Thank God!). I would like to believe that I am not off mark in this matter

Before concluding, I would like to repeat, ad nauseoum (since I have been repeating this over and over again) that Nepal’s best interest will be best served by ensuring energy security and being self reliant in the matters of energy – from our own water resource.

I would like to close this email by reiterating that Indian interest in Nepal’s hydropower is just a façade to capture water belonging to Nepal – we can find abundant examples in Koshi, Gandaki and Mahakali treaties. My belief as such has been confirmed by current union water resources minister of India Mr. Saif Uddin Soz (no less a person) who has been frank and honest in admitting, with Navin Singh Khadka, BBC Nepali Service, 12 September 2008 that “Our main interest is flood control and irrigation. Those are our first and second priority. If we get hydroelectricity as by product, that will be a bonus for us.” I pray to god almighty that he gets elected once more and ascends the same ministerial berth in Delhi.

Jai hos!

PS: Since this is a very important matter from Nepal’s perspective, I urge you to forward this email to those, you think would be, should be interested.

With best regards,

Ratna Sansar Shrestha,

From: Dipak Gyawali []
Sent: Friday, April 24, 2009 7:13
Subject: Ha!! I told you so....

None of our HydroDollarists wanted to believe some of us 'baikalpikwallas' when we said North India has 10000MW shortage currently. Hence the idea of solving our loadshedding problem by importing power from India is madness. They can't supply, and if they do, the political cost will be too high. Today's news report clipped below proves our point if any proof were needed.

It would have been far better to give all facilities to our own developers to develop our hydro and export only when we have a surplus. Hundreds of potential PPAs that could be developed within two years are not signed by the current government because of this big pie-in-the-sky idea of importing from the Mughlani Sahu and NEA's dog-in-the-manger policy of not allowing Nepali private competition but allowing load shedding to continue (till 2019 BS as per the Som Nath Paudel '10,000MW' Commission)!.

I wonder what our 'nakkacharas' advocating Mahatonomics and Enronism will now have to say??!!
Jai Hos!
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

Published on 2009-04-24 00:00:01

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