September 15: Nepal and Bangladesh have agreed to jointly undertake the 683 MW Sunkoshi III semi-reservoir project. The two countries are expected to reach a final decision in this regard by next December after discussing the structure of the project and the construction model.
According to the state-owned national news agency RSS, Nepal had proposed five different projects to Bangladesh. A meeting of the energy secretaries of the two countries held on Tuesday, September 14, decided to undertake the Sunkoshi III project after approval from Bangladesh. This is reportedly the first agreement reached the two governments for the construction of a hydropower project.
The joint meeting was co-chaired by Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Devendra Karki and Secretary at the Ministry of Power and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh Mohammad Habibur Rahman. A joint secretary-level meeting between Nepal and Bangladesh on Monday had proposed to build one of the two major projects in a joint venture. Among them were Sunkoshi III and Khimti Shivalaya.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Madhu Bhetuwal confirmed that the two countries had reached an understanding to undertake the project on the basis of the same proposal.
According to RSS, Bangladesh wants to import a total of 9,000 MW of electricity from Nepal by 2040. Bangladesh, which is looking for resources to address the growing energy demand, is keen to invest with Nepal in both public and private sectors.
Bangladesh had proposed to Nepal for the construction of a reservoir project at the government level during the state visit of the then Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Pun to Bangladesh some years ago.
In response, the ministry had formed a technical committee for necessary study.
The study committee formed by the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation had proposed Arun IV, Kimathanka Arun, Sunkoshi III, Khimti Shivalaya and one other project of Province No 1.