Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering’s three-day state-visit to India last week resulted in India’s commitment of Nu 45 billion and an agreement on the Mangdechhu hydropower plant tariff at Nu 4.12 per unit.

Lyonchhen said it was a fruitful visit and that his delegation returned with the expected outcomes.

“The Indian government gave us their commitment on funding support for the 12th Plan, we finalised the Mangedechhu power tariff, and also received another Nu 4 billion to support trade,” he said.

He said the visit was to symbolise the significance of the Indo-Bhutan friendship and strengthen it.

He thanked the Kings, the clergy and the people for their well-wishes, blessings, and prayers.

The two sides recognised the importance of continued hydropower cooperation for mutual benefit and expressed satisfaction on the ongoing hydropower projects.

After seven rounds of talks, the power export tariff for the 720-mega watt Mangdechhu hydropower project was fixed at Nu 4.12 per unit.

“The tariff rate of Nu 4.12 is what was estimated as the revenue earning of MHPA while working on the projections of the budget outlay for the 12th Plan. So we got exactly what we needed,” Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said.

He said that the Bhutanese side requested for a tariff rate of Nu 4.27 per unit that would have enabled the government to implement its pledges including those in health.

While there is a difference of 15 cheltrums from the highest tariff rate Bhutan proposed, the extension in loan repayment term has been extended from 15 to 17 years.

The tariff would increase by 10 percent after five years which is expected to earn Bhutan Nu 3.5 billion in five years.

With the tariff rate now fixed at Nu 4.12, the government has to seek funds to implement those pledges that are outside the plan.

Meanwhile the MHPA plant according to its management is expected to be commissioned next month.

The political leaders from the two countries, according to the joint press release, held discussions on Bhutan’s priorities in the health sector.

Kuensel learnt that the Indian government had asked Bhutanese delegation to submit a proposal on the health pledges for funding, which it would look into support.

Lyonchhen also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Bhutan next year.

Tshering Palden