Wins bid for the project in which international companies including from China had participated

Indicating that Nepal trusts its valued relationship with India and wants to walk shoulder to shoulder with the latter to achieve shared happiness and prosperity of people in the region, the Himalayan country has decided to award 679 MW Lower Arun Hydropower Project to India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Limited (SJVN).

Chairman and Managing Director of SJVN Nand Lal Sharma informed that Nepal has allotted the hydro elected project to his company in Nepal through competitive bidding. Nepal’s decision to allot the project to Indian public-sector company was taken at a meeting of the Investment Board of Nepal on January 29.

Nepal Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli is the Chairman of Himalayan nation’s investment board. SJVN Chairman and Managing Director Nand Lal Sharma expressed his deepest gratitude to the Nepal Prime Minister for awarding the project and assured that the project will be completed in a time-bound manner.

The SJVN Chairman and Managing Director said several international companies including those from China had bid for the project. SJVN is already constructing 900 MW Arun 3 Hydroelectric Project in Nepal and 217 kilometers 400 KV associated transmission system. With addition of Lower Arun project, SJVN portfolio stands at 8960.5 MW.

The Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project is located in Sankhuwasabha and Bhojpur districts of Nepal. On completion 679 MW Lower Arun Hydro Electric Project will generate 3561 million units of electricity per annum.

The announcement of the project comes at a time when New Delhi and Kathmandu are witnessing a dynamism and energy in their relations. Nepal’s foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali recently visited India for the Joint Commission Meeting with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

Earlier, India offered a gift of 1 million doses of Covishield vaccines to Nepal, which was rather one of the first countries to receive vaccines after New Delhi rolled out vaccine supply in the third week of the last month.

Since the onset of the pandemic, India has maintained close coordination with Nepal and provided overall assistance including medical, technical and humanitarian assistance.

India has also facilitated the repatriation of Nepali nationals stranded in third countries due to the pandemic. It assisted the efforts of Nepal in bringing medical assistance from third countries and repatriation and evacuation of its nationals by providing smooth over flight through Indian territory.

Special facilitation was provided for travel of Nepali nationals requiring emergency medical treatment in India.

Daily flights between New Delhi and Kathmandu have begun from December under Air Bubble arrangement between India and Nepal, bringing relief to many travelers. Both sides are now working to restore regular movement of nationals across the border through both land and air routes.

The various India-assisted connectivity, infrastructure and development projects in Nepal made concrete progress despite the difficulties due to Covid restrictions. Several reconstruction and High Impact Community Development projects were completed and handed over to Nepal.

Then in rail connectivity, India has decided to extend to extend Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line up to Bijalpura in Nepal by March 2021.

India has spent nearly Rs 550 crores for the section up to Bijalpura which is further 17 km from Kurtha. After Bijalpura, a new line will be constructed till Bardibas after Nepal hands over land for the project, the Ministry of Railways said in a statement.

Janakpur, the famous pilgrim centre in Nepal falls in Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line

As per the Ministry, this project is being undertaken by IRCON and all rail engineering and infrastructure works are complete.

Both Nepal and India are working together to start rail service between Jayanagar and Kurtha and it is hoped that after finishing the necessary technical and operational requirements, this service will be commenced soon.

To operate rail service on this route, 2 sets of 1600 HP DEMU passenger rakes have been supplied by Konkan Rail Corporation Limited (KRCL). These 2 DEMU rakes have 2 AC coaches each apart from non-AC coaches.

These 2 rakes were handed over to Nepal on 18th September, 2020. This will be the first Broad Gauge passenger rail service in Nepal. Prior to this till 2014 a narrow gauge service was running between Jayanagar and Janakpur operated by Nepal.

Indian Railways is extending full cooperation to Nepal in running the Broad Gauge service by sharing the know-how and operations and maintenance processes with Nepal Railway Company as well as imparting training to officials from Nepal.

A draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for starting passenger train operations in the section has been prepared and shared with Nepal Railways by India. KRCL is being considered by Nepal Railway Company to run the operations and maintenance (O&M) of this line till such time Nepal Railway Company is able to do this itself.