Indian minister to address Nepal energy summit

September 22nd, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sep 22 (IANS) India’s Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh will address an energy summit in Kathmandu Tuesday, making it the first visit to Nepal by an Indian minister after the formation of a Maoist-led government here.Ramesh’s visit comes after Nepal’s first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ went on his first formal visit to New Delhi this month, where he met the Indian business community and urged it to invest in priority areas in Nepal, including hydropower.

The two-day Power Summit 2008 is being organized by PTC India, Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal and Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI).

More than 300 delegates from India, Nepal and other countries are taking part in the summit, including leading Indian power companies like Jindal, GMR, Athena, AES and the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam.

The summit aims to bring together relevant stakeholders and policy makers from Nepal and India to discuss power markets and project development, in the backdrop of the recent price hike in petroleum products.

Though Nepal has the potential to generate over 80,000 MW, its current capacity is around 600 MW. The country is going through one of the worst power crises with a 35-hour weekly power outage and is seeking to buy an additional 50-60 MW from India to tide over the crisis.

NICCI president Arun Chaudhury blamed the “politicization of the hydropower sector” for the delayed development. However, he said, the industry was drawing hope from Prachanda’s announcement that he himself was heading an investment board that would study new investment proposals.

In his budget Friday, Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai pledged to generate 10,000 MW of power in the next decade.

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