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Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal : the Major Points You should Know

 Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal: the Major Points. The Mahakali treaty was signed in February 1996 between then Nepali PM Sher Bahadur Deuba former Prime Minister of Nepal and former Indian PM PV Narasimha. This Mahakali Treaty 1996 is  Valid for 72 years, reviewed every 10 years. This treaty was done as a New prospect of harnessing the Himalayan Rivers for hydropower, irrigation, and flood control which was approved by 2/3 of the majority of the Parliament of Nepal.


Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal


After the signature of this treaty, there was a lot of controversy within Nepal stating that an anti-national treaty was done against Nepal by India. Till today there’s huge controversy regarding this treaty, Although this treaty is relatively good for Nepal, India is not fully in support to provide the benefits to Nepal. 
Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal signing
Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal signing ( Mahakali Sandhi in the Nepali language)
More than 25 years passed, the DPR (Detailed project report)  has not been fully implemented well by the Indian government  Not only India is controlling interest over the major rivers for economic reasons which were in the border. 

 Here are the Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal Major Points :
    1. The Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal basically deals with the three major issues Sarada Dam, Tanakpur dam, and  Pancheswor multipurpose project or dam.


      • Replaces earlier understanding of Sarada Barrage, Tanakpur Barrage, and the proposed Pancheshwar Project.
      • Sarada Agreement 1920 sharing of the Mahakali River
      • Principle of equitable and reasonable use. 1000 cusecs in the wet season and 150 cusecs in the lean season and  
      • If Sarada becomes a non-functioning minimum flow of 350 cusecs downstream to preserve river ecosystem
      • Maintenance, Operation, Protection of Sarada Barrage •


  1. India exchanged 4000 acres of land for 2898 acres of land of Nepal and  Provisions 14,000 cusecs of water to India and 1000 cusecs of water to Nepal
  2. Joint operation of the head regulators and waterways systems in which 70 million KW of energy produced on a continuous basis annually.
  3. 132 kV transmission line up to Nepal-India border from Tanakpur Power Station where  Tanakpur Power Station 120 MW capacity, generates 448.4 million KW of energy
  4. Separate Provision for incremental energy to Nepal against payment and  Prime Consideration for Nepal’s water requirements and irrigation.
  5. Tanakpur Treaty done in 1991
    • Severe criticism within Nepal was found.  Built a weir part away across the river  by India  which then Mahakali flowed away from the weir took away 33 acres of Nepal land
    • 1000 cusecs capacity head regulator at Tanakpur.
    • 150 cusecs of water in order to irrigate the border side of both India and Nepal.
    • Between 4000-5000 ha of land on Nepalese side irrigation.
    • • India 10 MW of energy at a special cost to Nepal despite the loss of power supply from the Tanakpur Power Station was done.
  6. Tanakpur Power Station found  Major Obstacle between two countries 
    • No Cooperative engagements were seen to run the project
    • As Constitution was promulgated on 9th November 1990 in Nepal, Article 126 deemed it necessary for parliamentary ratification by two-thirds.
  7. Tanakpur Agreement remained undisclosed to the Nepali public 
  • This agreement was not produced in the Parliament stating that this is just ‘understanding’ not a treaty. Later  Supreme Court decided that the Tanakpur agreement was indeed a treaty and not just an understanding.
  • Severe criticism from all quarters of Nepal was felt although  Media inform the people of the pros and cons of the Tanakpur project.
  • Koirala and Nepali Congress Party faced opposition barks as a Scathing attack to the Tanakpur agreement from street to houses. The Rostrum of the lower house was gheraoed (encircled) for more than eight hours by the UML on 28 February 1991.
  • Finally, the Commission concluded that Tanakpur’s agreement was ‘all-encompassing serious and long term nature’ and recommended to ratify with a simple majority.

In conclusion, though there is controversy on the Mahakali Treaty between India and Nepal, It could be a boon for the Nepali economy and power. But due to the big country power encroachment, it has become a curse to the Nepali people regarding the treaty.

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