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India to start exporting 80 mw electricity to Nepal from today

Nepal will import up to 80 megawatts of electricity from India beginning Saturday to ease the ongoing energy crisis plaguing the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli will inaugurate the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line using a remote control from Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday to supply electricity to Nepal, Energy Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma said.

Although the state-owned power utility had earlier said it would import the power beginning on Friday, it had not been able to do so due to delay in carrying out all the tests on the brand new transmission line, construction of which began as early as January 2007, The Himalayan Times reported. On Monday, Nepal signed an agreement with India to import additional 80 MW of electricity to ease its energy crisis.

As per the agreement, India will sell power at Nepali Rs 5.5 equivalent to Indian Rs 3.45 per unit to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). Nepal is currently importing 230 MW of electricity from India. However, the country is still facing 13 hour-long power outage daily.

During Oli’s ongoing visit to India, Nepal is likely to ask for more power supply from India to ease the current power shortage facing the country. The 140-km Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line project, which extends from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in India, can handle capacity of up to 400 KV.

On Thursday, Nepal government declared energy emergency in the country, third time in the last eight years, to tide over the acute electricity shortage and unveiled plans to address the energy crisis within two years by importing 50 per cent of its requirements from India.

Meanwhile, the Modi Government has come out with fresh guidelines for setting up of power plants in special economic zones (SEZs), stipulating that generation units could be set up only in the non-processing area of SEZs and there will be no fiscal benefits towards maintenance. As per the modified norms, the power plants which are set up in IT/ITeS zones that require uninterrupted power supply at stable frequency will be entitled to fiscal incentives for setting up and maintenance of generating units.

“A power plant, including non-conventional energy power plant, to be set up by developer/co-developer in an SEZ as part of infrastructure facility will be in the non-processing area of SEZ only and will be entitled to fiscal benefits only for its initial setting up and no fiscal benefit would be admissible for its operation and maintenance,” the commerce ministry guidelines for power generation, transmission and distribution in SEZs said.

Such a power plant can supply power to domestic tariff area (DTA) after meeting the power requirement of the SEZ subject to payment of Customs duty. It is also stipulated that setting up of captive power plant, including non-conventional energy, could be permitted in “processing area as a unit” subject to net foreign exchange earning obligations.

“Such a power plant will be entitled to all the fiscal benefits... including the ones for initial setting up, maintenance and duty-free import of raw material and consumables for generation of power,” it added. Further, the guidelines said SEZs which are connected to state/national grid will be allowed to create a back-up power facility.

“For such power back-up facility, if it is in the non-processing area, only duty benefits on capital expenditure for setting up will be available,” it clarified. The guidelines for generation, transmission and distribution of power in SEZ were initially announced in February 2009 and were revised subsequently in 2012. The notification said the present guidelines would supersede the earlier ones. 
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