Energy Ministry has proposed to September 3-5 for power trade agreement (PTA) talks with India.

The proposal of the talks that has been planned in New Delhi has already been sent to the Indian side, joint secretary at the ministry Keshab Dhoj Adhikari, said, adding that the Indian side has also informally agreed on the proposed dates.

Once the power trade deal is sealed it would officially allow Nepal to purchase electricity whenever there is a shortage and sell surplus power to India.

The ministry is waiting for the approval from the Cabinet to travel to New Delhi, he said.

The ministry is planning to send a seven-member team led by energy secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri for the bilateral talks with the Southern neighbour.

The government had sent a draft of PTA on August 1. New Delhi responded some days ago on Kathmandu’s draft paving the way for bilateral talks.

New Delhi has agreed to sit for talks on the basis of Kathmandu’s draft, Adhikari added.

Earlier, Kathmandu and New Delhi had planned PTA talks in New Delhi on July 21-22. But the opposition parties protested against energy minister Radha Gyawali’s move to keep the document secret till last hour, and forced the energy secretary Kshatri led delegation to cancel July 20 trip to New Delhi.

The cabinet could also not decide on the PTA negotiation talks due to the absence of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

The opposition asked the government to clarify, if only Indian companies are allowed to construct hydropower project in Nepal, according to the Indian draft of PTA.

The government formed a three-party committee including finance minister and leader of Nepali Congress Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, CPN-UML’s Bhim Rawal and UCPN-Maoist’s Narayan Kaji Shrestha to finalise the PTA draft that has focussed only on power trading and building cross border transmission lines to import and export power.

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