Deal inked: First India-Bhutan joint venture hydroelectric project2 min read

By- Tanisha Pandey

The hydroelectric project is going to be implemented by Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited. It would be a joint venture company formed between Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited of India (SJVNL) and Druk Green Power Corporation of Bhutan (DGPC).

This is going to be the first joint venture project to be implemented in Bhutan, Jaishankar said, congratulating both partners — Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) and Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC) — for it.

The signing of this concession agreement will lead to the commencement of construction and other works of this first joint venture hydroelectric project between India and Bhutan. The project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2025,” it said.

The 600 MW run-of-the-river project is located on the lower course of the Kholongchhu river in eastern Bhutan’s Trashiyangtse district.

External Affairs Ministers of India and Bhutan on the joint venture:

The External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, and his Bhutanese Counterpart emphasised the importance of hydropower development. They defined it as an important pillar of mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation.

Both these ministers also recalled the cooperation, trust, and mutual respect that have long characterised the special and unique friendship, reinforced by strong people to people links and shared cultural heritage between India and Bhutan.

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As per the MEA statement, Loknath Sharma, Bhutan Economic Affairs Minister, and senior government officials including the ambassador of India to Bhutan and ambassador of Bhutan to India, foreign secretaries of Bhutan and India, secretary (power) were also present at the signing ceremony that was held through video conferencing.

Key Highlights of the project:

•  This project is going to be implemented by Kholongchhu Hydro Energy Limited. It is a joint venture company formed between Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited of India (SJVNL) and Druk Green Power Corporation of Bhutan (DGPC).

•  As per the MEA, the project envisages an underground powerhouse of four 150 MW Turbines along with water impounded by a concrete gravity dam of 95 metres height.

•  In August 2019, the 720 MW Mangdechhu hydroelectric project was jointly inaugurated by the Prime Ministers of India and Bhutan.

According to this project, four hydroelectric projects of the bilateral corporation (60 MW Kurichhu HEP, 336 MW Chukha HEP, 720 MW Mangdechhu HEP and 1,020 Tala HEP) which is totalling over 2,100 MW are already operational in Bhutan.