INDIA, Bhutan sign agreement for a power project

A concession agreement on the first Indo-Bhutan joint venture hydroelectric project has been signed for the commencement of its construction and other related works. The Project envisages an underground powerhouse of four 150 MW turbines with water impounded by a concrete gravity dam of 95 meters height. It will be implemented by Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited, a Joint Venture company formed between Druk Green Power Corporation of Bhutan and Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited of India. The Mangdechhu hydroelectric project was jointly inaugurated earlier in August 2019 by the prime ministers of India and Bhutan. The project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2025. Both the External Affairs Minister of India and the Foreign Minister of Bhutan emphasized the importance of hydropower development as an important pillar of mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation. They also recalled the trust, co-operation and mutual respect that have long characterized the unique and special friendship, anchored in mutual understanding, and reinforced by a shared cultural heritage and strong people to people links between India and Bhutan. The hydropower sector is the flagship area of India-Bhutan bilateral cooperation. The 720 MW Mangdechhu hydroelectric project was jointly inaugurated earlier in August last year by the Prime Ministers of India and Bhutan. With this, four hydroelectric projects of bilateral cooperation totalling over 2100 MW, are already operational in Bhutan. The concession agreement for the 600 MW Kholongchhu project between the Bhutanese government and the Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited was signed in the virtual presence of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Bhutanese counterpart Tandi Dorji, a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement said. “Jaishankar congratulated both partners — SJVNL and DGPC — for this remarkable feat. Describing the agreement as a “milestone”, he said the commencement of construction activities of the project will create economic and employment opportunities in Bhutan in this critical time. “Our two countries are together in fighting this global pandemic. Government of India has provided support, as it should, to Bhutan in terms of medical equipment, kits and medicines as per Royal Government of Bhutan’s requirements,” Jaishankar said. Besides continuing with our developmental partnership, we have also ensured an uninterrupted supply of essentials and other goods to Bhutan despite the lockdowns,” he said. Bhutan Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma, and senior government officials, including foreign secretaries of India and Bhutan, secretary (power), Government of India, ambassador of India to Bhutan, and ambassador of Bhutan to India, were also present at the signing ceremony held through videoconferencing, the MEA said. The hydropower sector is the flagship area of India-Bhutan bilateral cooperation, it said.  Image courtesy:spotlightnepal.com

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