Kul Man Ghising, the managing director of the Nepal Electricity Authority, declared during a speech at the organization’s 37th anniversary on August 17 that Nepal had been successful in selling electricity to India since Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal assumed office.
Nepal Check fact-checked the following remarks Ghising had made during his address (Watch it on YouTube from 1:32:50 to 1:33:24):
Sher Bahadur Deuba was appointed Prime Minister on June 13, 2021 after the Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives. Maoist leader Pampha Bhusal was appointed as Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation on the same day.
Nepal’s attempts to sell power to India began in the early 2000s. But bilateral negotiations between the two nations picked up speed in the years following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal on August 3–4, 2014.
Here is a timeline of the negotiations between Nepal and India that resulted in the agreement to sell power to India.
On August 3, 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to Nepal for a two-day visit at Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala’s invitation. Modi’s visit indicated that relations between the two countries would improve thereafter.
Officials from India and Nepal signed an initial agreement under the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) on September 4, 2014 in New Delhi.
The two countries finally signed the PTA on November 7, 2014 in Kathmandu. The PTA made it possible for Nepal to exchange power with India and other nations, according to a report published in The Kathmandu Post.
On February 20, 2016, during his visit to India, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line. The transmission line was essential for the export and import of high-voltage power between Nepal and India.
Indian and Nepali officials met to discuss how to implement the Power Trade Agreement in mid-February 2017. The meeting also agreed to finalise the detailed project report of the proposed Butwal-Gorakhpur cross-border transmission line, according to a news report.
Kul Man Ghising, the Managing Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority, led the Nepali delegation to the 13th meeting of the Nepal-India Power Exchange Committee in New Delhi on July 5-6, 2018.
A follow-up meeting was held on January 23 in Pokhara. The meeting culminated with an agreement to exchange electricity.
On December 11 and 12, 2020, the energy secretaries of the two neighbors convened the 8th meeting of the Joint Steering Committee via video conference. The officials talked on a wide range of issues, including Nepal’s access to Indian energy markets, intercountry transmission lines, power trade, and energy banking, according to the Economic Times.
In early January 2021, Nepal’s Electricity Regulatory Commission allowed the Nepal Electricity Authority to sell electricity to India. Earlier, the Nepal government’s cabinet had authorized the NEA to export electricity to India.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli inaugurated the 400 -220 kV Dhalkebar sub-stations in Dhanusha district on February 1, 2021. The substation, along with the 400 kV transmission line, has the capacity to exchange about 1000 megawatts of electricity with India.
The Central Electricity Authority of India published the guidelines for approving and facilitating the trading of power in February 2021. The guidelines were expected to help ease Nepal’s ability to trade electricity with India.
Sher Bahadur Deuba was appointed Prime Minister on July 13, 2021 after the Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives that had been dissolved by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
In November 2021, India allowed Nepal to sell electricity to the country under the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX). Nepal became the first South Asian country to participate in the IEX.
Early in August 2022, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba embarked on a three-day official trip to India. During the visit, the two countries issued the Nepal-India joint vision statement on power sector cooperation. It enabled Nepal to access India’s market and trade power with India.
As the timeline shows, negotiations for power trade with India had been underway for over a decade. Although power trade with India formally started after the current government came to power, the groundwork had been laid by previous governments. It started under the Sushil Koirala-led administration and continued throughout the KP Sharma Oli administration.
Even as he claimed that the current administration had facilitated the power trade with India, Kul Man Ghising failed to mention any relevant background information. He gave credit to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal for power trade with India, but failed to detail the efforts made by previous governments. Therefore, his claim missed the context, which would have revealed the history of sustained efforts by various governments to turn the idea of power exchange into a reality.
|Claim||Claimed by||Nepal Check Verdict|
|Nepal had been successful in selling electricity to India since Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Energy Minister Pampha Bhusal assumed office.||Kul Man Ghising||Missing Context|
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