India and Bhutan have finally signed off on a jointly agreed tariff for the electricity generated from the soon to be inaugurated 720 MW Mangdechhu hydropower project in central Bhutan. This was announced by PM Modi during his speech following his meeting with visiting Bhutanese PM Dr Lotay Tshering on Friday.
PM Modi also announced India’s commitment to allocate to Bhutan Nu 45 billion (Rs 4,500 crore) for its 12the Five Year Plan. The same amount was allocated by India to Bhutan for its 11th FYP. “India will make a contribution of Rs 4,500 crore for Bhutan’s 12th Five-Year Plan,” he said. This contribution will be made according to Bhutan’s needs and priorities. Bhutan’s 12th Five-Year Plan runs from 2018 to 2023.
Mangdechhu hydropower project
This HP project is being developed by Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA) constituted jointly by Governments of India and Bhutan.
Mangdechhu hydro-power project in Bhutan will be completed soon and the first power supply of this Rs. 4,500-crore Bhutan project is all set now to get into India’s national power pool by May-June 2019.
The agreement on the per unit cost of electricity from this project is learnt to have been agreed upon during the meeting between Bhutan’s economic affairs secretary, Dasho Yeshi Wangdi and the power secretary of India, Ajay Kumar Bhalla. The Bhutanese PM, on his first visit to India in October and after being elected his country’s PM, arrived here for a three-day state visit on Wednesday. Bhutanese PM Tshering described his “Narrowing the Gap” vision in detail during their earlier meetings as well, Modi said that this matched his “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth) vision.
The agreement was signed in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu. As per the finalised protocol detail given by Bhutan Government’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, the starting tariff for a term of 35 years is Ngultrum 4.21 (Eqv. INR 4.21) per unit.
That will go up at a rate of 10% every 5 years till Bhutan’s loan for the project is repaid and 5% later. Government of India has funded Rs. 3,382 crores for the project with 70 percent of that as loan and 30 per cent grant. Mangdechhu HEP is a 720 MW, run-of-the river scheme located on river Mangdechhu in Trongsa Dzongkhag (District) in Central Bhutan. Annual energy generation from the Project with 95% machine availability would be 2925.25 million units.
The bilateral agreement to execute the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project was signed between Government of India and Royal Government of Bhutan on 30th April 2010. The onset of construction in June 2012, commissioning of Mangdecchu was initially planned for Sep 2017. But due to many events of delays, first unit of the project is now expected to go-live in May. Physical progress of the project, as of December 2018, is 99.35 %.