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India’s ill-intention on Nepal

It has already been more than two decades since endorsement of the Mahakali Treaty between Nepal and India in 1996. During the time of endorsement, our leaders in favour of endorsement of the treaty were making big claims. This scribe remembers, Pashupati Shumsher Rana was the minister for water resources. He had claimed that after implementation of the treaty, the value of Nepali currency will be hiked by three rupees against one unit of the Indian currency. Much water has flown in the Mahakali river after the treaty but the price of the Nepali currency against the Indian currency is as-it-is. After signing of the agreement, the Indian side kept the file pending for decades. It was said that the detailed project report (DPR) would be completed within six months of signing of the Treaty, yet, it has not been completed. During signing of the Treaty, the concept was sharing water and electricity equally by both the countries. Just recently, the Indian side has sent a proposal in which, Nepal will have the right of 22 percent of water in the river whereas India will have the right of 78 percent of the water. As India has already constructed Sarada Barrage, Nepal will not have her right on the water used by the Barrage. In this regard, Nepal will have the right of only 22 percent of water in the river, the Indian side claimed.
Just recently, India has circulated directives on cross border power trade to her concerned authorities. As per the directives, if the Indian government or the public institutions or the private sector wish to import electricity from any foreign country, there should be minimum 51 percent of investment in the power project of the Indian government or the (Indian) public company or the (Indian) private sector. Likewise, the directives state that power should be imported from the project in which there is 100 percent investment of the Indian government or the project should be under the control of the concern government of the neighbouring country.
From these two clauses, India has restricted import of electricity from the hydropower projects under the foreign investments. Nepal having huge potentiality of generating hydropower project, was dreaming on becoming rich by exporting hydropower to India. To make the dream come true, Nepal was hoping for inviting multinational companies in the country for joint-venture. China is the country which is keen to invest in hydropower sector. Understandably, to discourage and stop the third country investment and to encourage the Indian investment in hydropower projects in the neighbouring countries, India has developed such a policy.
After the new directives, foreign countries or companies, except from India, will not come to Nepal to invest on hydropower project unless we can assure them of the market. That is no foreign companies/countries will come to invest in mega hydropower projects. It is clearly understood that except from handing over such mega projects to the Indian parties no other options are left except to export power to India. The Indian policy is to capture all such mega projects in Nepal.
The above two examples makes it crystal clear as to the Indian intention. India doesn’t want to see Nepal becoming rich and stable country. India doesn’t want to see Chinese support to Nepal. Yes, India will buy our electricity if she will get it at virtually free price. Therefore, we should forget about the dream of exporting our hydropower to India, instead, we should focus on establishing huge power consuming industries within the country and develop the plan of constructing hydropower projects as per the requirement of the country. The country should introduce more cable-car services, metro railways, east-west railways, e-vehicles, silver producing industries, fertilizer producing industries by providing power at very cheap price from which the operational/production cost can be reduced and our service/commodities can compete in the global market.
Likewise, we should develop the mindset that foreign countries, specially, Indians will not come here to develop infrastructural projects but we will have to construct them through our own resources. The government has introduced the plan of construction of Budhigandaki hydropower project by raising tax on petro-products. If the government will be able to make this local investment project a success, it will establish a new record. Even if we do not have the capacity for construction of many of the mega projects at once, we do have the capacity of completing one such infrastructural project after another. Experts have opined that the government must construct Budhigandaki hydropower project and also the Nijgadh International Airport and Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track project by itself. Why does not the government make the mentality to complete these projects as model projects without any further delay?

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