India Power Secretary Reaffirms India's Commitment to Hydropower Projects in Bhutan
31 October 2022
Mr. Alok Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Power of the Government of India led a delegation to Bhutan on 29-31 October 2022. His visit reviewed all aspects of Bhutan-India energy cooperation, and emphasized the commitment by both countries to complete ongoing hydropower projects according to the agreed timeline. Projects reviewed include Punatsangchhu-I and II Hydroelectric Power projects, and Kholongchhu project. He also visited Punatsangchhu-I and II.
On 31 October 2022, Bhutan and India held bilateral talks in Thimphu to review their hydropower cooperation. Mr. Karma Tshering, Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Government of Bhutan and Mr. Kumar led their respective country delegations. Outcomes of the meeting include:
- Review of the progress in the implementation of all the ongoing bilateral hydropower projects;
- Exchange of views on aspects relating to power trading; and
- Discussion of ways to further expand the hydropower cooperation for mutual benefit.
Bhutan underscored the importance of the revenue generated from hydropower projects in supporting Bhutan's economy especially during the pandemic.
Bhutan and India reaffirmed their commitment toward completion of the ongoing hydropower projects in a timely manner. This includes:
- The Punatsangchhu-I Project. Both sides agreed to cooperate toward achieving a technically safe and cost-effective solution in a timebound manner, in consideration of the geological challenges.
- The Punatsangchhu-II Project. Both delegations expressed satisfaction with its overall progress and pace of work amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Kholongchhu project. Both sides underscored the importance of its completion and agreed to revise its implementation modality, according to the request of Government of Bhutan. Bhutan thanked India for the technical support extended by experts from Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) of India. India reaffirmed continued support for the successful completion and operation of the project.
The meeting agreed that technical groups and bilateral mechanisms will meet according to the timelines agreed for continuous monitoring of the ongoing projects and to make progress on all aspects of bilateral hydropower cooperation. They also expressed their firm commitment to widen and diversify the existing energy cooperation.