Saturday, June 21, 2014

Condition Precedent for implementation of Pancheshwar Project

Mr Surya Nath Upadhyay
former Chief Commissioner, CIAA and
former Secretary, Ministry of water resoruces

Dear Mr. Upadhyay

I also would like to add a few points in the interest of Nepal specifically with respect to your statement re “Start Pancheshwar Project and implement the Mahakli Treaty provisions for quickly delivering the agreed water to Nepal” that you have mentioned below:

As a 4-point stricture motion (संकल्प प्रस्ताव) was passed by the then parliament of Nepal prior to ratifying the treaty, the treaty first needs to be amended to incorporate the points included in the stricture motion before even thinking of implementing the treaty and building Pancheshwar Project.

As stipulated by Clause 1 of Article 9 of the treaty, “Mahakali River Commission” needs to be formed before belaboring about the details of what to build, when to built and where to build. You will recall that Pancheshwar Development Authority has already been constituted even before “Mahakali River Commission” coming into existence: almost like son taking birth even before the father was conceived.

Your motive behind saying so seems to be very nationalistic, as you wish for Nepal to receive “agreed water” from Mahakali. However, you must be aware that what Nepal isn’t receiving now is merely water from spatial transfer and for this Nepal shouldn’t need to cause inundation of her land and involuntary displacement of the inhabitants by building the project which basically is a storage project that will enable temporal transfer of water. The Nepali people with nationalistic feelings should try to force India to “share” agreed quantum of water right away without having to wait for the project to be built.

In order for Nepal to go ahead with building of Pancheshwar project for temporal storage of water which will result in lean season augmented flow, mainly in India, without incorporating the clauses of the stricture motion, Nepal will continue to get cheated of rightful quantum of water that she is entitled to. As others, you may also opine that since there is no land in Nepal to irrigate from half of the water that will be stored in the reservoir that belongs to Nepal, and you could add that there shouldn’t be problem for the likes of me to object to India “enjoying” lean season augmented flow that Nepal cannot use. I will have to disagree with you in this respect. The correct thing to do will be to reach an agreement in the lines of Columbia Treaty or Lesotho Highland Water Project Agreement. For the sake of mathematical simplicity, if Nepal and India were to follow the formula enshrined in the agreement between Lesotho and South Africa for Lesotho Highland Water project, India will need to pay $ 216 million/year to nepal for the lean season augmented flow. Otherwise, there is no sense in building such a project.

There is no sense in building this project in near future from the perspective of electricity too as there is no load centre in the vicinity of the proect in Nepal. Hence, this is an export-oriented project. From this perspective too the treaty needs to be amended to incorporate the stricture motion one of which deals with tariff rate for export.

Most importantly, what people should not lose sight of the fact is that, Nepal doesn’t have access to the kind of money that will be needed to build this project. If attempt is made to build it forcefully with funding from multilaterals, the attempt will be futile as multilaterals have time and again listened to the likes of us for example in Arun III (cancelled by world bank in 1995) and West Seti (ADB withdrew investment from it, although you personally advocated building it as envisaged by SMEC).

With best regards

Ratna Sansar

-- Original Message -----
From: 'Surya Nath Updhaya' [NNSD]
Sent: Saturday, June 14, 2014 9:59 AM
Subject: Re: [NNSD] Reflecting on what's happening in the neighborhood

Yes, Modi has shown good omen for better due to his recent steps though little it might look but important and illustrative for many of our leaders. However, when it comes to" capitalizing on his rise and vision" by Nepal I am a bit skeptic because during the last NDA period nothing material has changed in the perspective of so far as Nepal-India relations are concerned. They seems to have the same attitude. It was reported that Modi during the Koirala's recent meeting with him asked to come up with concrete plan. The media here, as always, not tired to diminutively present their their own leaders in the face of foreign leaders reported that that Nepalse PM did not have any plan ready to present to the" Master" . In fact, if Modi is really upbeat in improving the Nepal-India relation and win over the heart of Nepalese people there is no dearth of issues where Nepal feels she is not being treated equitably and fairly. Modi could pick up any of these and mend the course of actions rather than again taking benefit from the transitional political situation of Nepal when India is evidentially alleged to be "micromanaging" the polity of Nepal to in its favor :

1. Start Pancheshwar Project and implement the Mahakli Treaty provisions for quickly delivering the agreed water to Nepal

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