New Delhi, June 29: With an aim to build mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar on Monday participated in the signing ceremony of the Concession Agreement for the 600 MW Kholongchhu (Joint Venture) Hydroelectric Project via video conference. This project will lead to the commencement of the first joint venture hydroelectric project between India and Bhutan.
The project was signed between Bhutan and Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited, a Joint Venture company formed between Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) of Bhutan and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) of India in the virtual presence of EAM Jaishankar and Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji, Foreign Minister, Royal Government of Bhutan.
The 600 MW run-of-the-river project that is expected to complete in the first half of 2025 is located on the lower course of the Kholongchhu River in Trashiyangtse District in Eastern Bhutan. It envisages an underground powerhouse of four 150 MW turbines with water impounded by a concrete gravity dam of 95 meters height.
"Both the External Affairs Minister of India and Foreign Minister of Bhutan emphasized the importance of hydropower development as build important pillar of mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation. They also recalled the trust, co-operation, and mutual respect that have long characterized the unique and special friendship, anchored in mutual understanding and reinforced by a shared cultural heritage and strong people to people links between India and Bhutan," the statement read.
Further, it stated that the hydropower sector is the flagship area of India-Bhutan bilateral cooperation. The 720 MW Mangdechhu hydroelectric project was jointly inaugurated earlier in August 2019 by the Hon’ble Prime Ministers of India and Bhutan. With this, four (04) hydroelectric projects of bilateral cooperation (336 MW Chukha HEP, 60 MW Kurichhu HEP, 1020 MW Tala HEP and 720 MW Mangdechhu HEP), totaling over 2100 MW, are already operational in Bhutan.
Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, Minister of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan and senior government officials including Foreign Secretaries of India and Bhutan, Secretary (Power), GoI, Ambassador of India to Bhutan and Ambassador of Bhutan to India were also present at the signing ceremony, which was held through video conferencing.