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Saturday, 9 February 2013

Bangladesh keen to be part of Nepal's Koshi project

Bangladesh keen to be part of Nepal's Koshi project

Bangladesh government has once again sought Nepal’s response on whether it wants Dhaka to be a part of the Sapta Koshi High Dam Multipurpose Project to harness huge water resources of the Koshi River basin in eastern Nepal.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, has recently sent a letter to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal, seeking the latter’s view on Bangladesh’s involvement in the ambitious project, a top MoFA official told THT.

Bangladesh has been lobbying hard to gain a share in the Nepal-India deal on the Koshi project. Dhaka wants to be one of the partners in the project, generating over 3000 MW electricity and wishes to acquire energy and water to be generated from it.

The feasibility study of the project is underway. The project is meant to generate hydro electricity along with controlling floods and use the reservoir water to irrigate millions of hectares of landmass in Nepal and northern India.

Given the project’s proximity to Bangladesh border, Dhaka wants to procure roughly one third of the energy produced to meet its energy deficit. It also wants to gain share of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.

“We want to get back from Nepal how we could be a partner of this project,” said an official, citing the letter forwarded by the Government of Bangladesh.

South Asia Division chief at the MoFA, Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat confirmed that Nepal received a correspondence from Bangladeshi government on the matter.

He said the Nepal government has not responded to the letter yet.

An official source said Nepal was in dilemma about responding to the letter without consulting India since the latter is also a part of the project.

YB Thapa, a former member of National Planning Commission and a water expert, however, argued that there has been no agreement between Nepal and India so far that a third party cannot be included in the project.