THIMPHU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Mangdechhu hydroelectric power plant, one of the major projects under Bhutan's initiative to generate 10,000 MW hydropower by 2020 with the Indian government's support.
The Rs 4,500-crore hydroelectric plant, touted as a Bhutan-India friendship project, is a 720MW run-of-river power plant built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag district of central Bhutan.
It was developed by the Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA), which was jointly constituted by the Indian and the Bhutanese governments.
"Hydropower is an important area of cooperation between our two countries. Together, the two countries have transformed the power of the rivers of Bhutan into not only electricity but also mutual prosperity.
"Today we have achieved another historic milestone of this journey with the inauguration of the Mangdechhu project," Modi told a joint media briefing here.
"With the cooperation of both countries, hydro-power generation capacity in Bhutan has crossed 2000 MW. I am confident that we will also take other projects forward very fast," he added.
The Mangdechhu project is funded by India through a 70 per cent loan and a 30 per cent grant.
It is estimated to generate 2,923 GWh of electricity.
"A crucial milestone celebrating India-Bhutan ties. This project shows how the two nations working together can bring immense positivity in the lives of people," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted after Modi dedicated the project to the people of Bhutan.
Most of the electricity generated by the Mangdechhu hydropower project will meet the energy requirements of Bhutan and the surplus electricity will be exported to India.
Sharing a video of the Mangdechhu hydroelectric plant, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also tweeted, "Harnessing the power of water for mutual benefits!" Modi also launched stamps to commemorate five decades of India-Bhutan Hydropower cooperation.
"50 of harnessing water resources for progress and growth. Stamps celebrating five decades of India-Bhutan hydropower cooperation were released by both Prime Ministers earlier this evening.
Extensive cooperation in this sector has augured well for India as well as Bhutan," the PMO tweeted.
The prime minister, who reached Bhutan in the morning, is on a two-day visit to the Himalayan kingdom. This is Modi's second visit to Bhutan and the first since his re-election in May this year.
Earlier on his arrival at the Paro airport, where he was received by the Bhutanese prime minister, Modi received a red-carpet welcome.
Waving the Indian tricolour and the Bhutanese flags, people lined up along the route from Paro to the capital city Thimphu to welcome Modi.