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India and Nepal today inked a historic Power Trade Agreement (PTA), allowing exchange of electricity and opening up new vistas of cooperation in the hydropower sector.
During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal in August, the two sides had agreed to sign the agreement that would allow exchange of electricity generated from hydel projects in Nepal. A draft agreement of the PTA was prepared by the two governments in first week of September.
Nepalese Secretary in the Ministry of Energy Rrajendra Kishore Kshatra and Energy Secretary of India Pradeep Kumar Sinha inked the agreement at a function held at the Prime Minister's Office.
"This agreement will throw up new vistas of cooperation between India and Nepal in power sector," said Sinha.
"This agreement will also provide a permanent forum for interaction between Indian and Nepal in the power sector," he added.
There is also the provision of establishing a joint working group in the PTA to be headed by joint secretaries of the two countries.
The joint group will sit every six months and take up issues not only pertaining to the existing cooperation in power sector between the two countries but will also explore and identify new areas of cooperation, he said.
There will also be a joint steering committee headed by secretaries of the two countries, which will meet in regular intervals, he said.
"This endeavour will, no doubt take us forward towards supplying power 24 hours a day and seven days a week," he said.
"The signing of the PTA was the result of our continuous effort since 2010 and this has opened up the possibilities of power trading between the two countries," Nepalese secretary Kshatra said.
There is a provision to forming bilateral mechanism for implementing the agreement, he said.
The agreement was signed keeping in mind the existing international practices regarding power trading, he said.
This agreement till also facilitate regional power trade in South Asian region, Kshatra said.
"I am confident that the governments of Nepal and India are committed towards implementing the agreement immediately after the signing in ceremony," he said.
Nepalese authorities and GMR group of India last month signed Project Development Agreement to construct 900 MW Upper Karnali Project in the presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
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