Nepal and India may increase the quantity of power ex-changed between the two nations to meet shortages in bordering areas. Technical panels from the two countries have recommended that the power exchange be raised from 50MW to 150MW, according to Bholanath Chalise, chief of the state-run Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).

Under a 27-year-old arrangement, Nepal and India exchange power at various points across their 1580km border to compensate for local shortages. Nepal has been facing acute power shortages as the peak hour demand of 380MW exceeds its generation capacity of 300MW. In addition to the imported energy from India, the deficit is met through scheduled power cuts. Chalise said the shortage was likely to ease further when two private facilities — the 60MW Khimti hydro power project and the 36MW Bhote Koshi scheme — come into operation from June 2000. Officials said Nepal would become a net power exporter within two years once the 144MW Kali Gandaki hydro project, being financed by the Japanese government and the Asian Development Bank, is commissioned.