Hydro Project Allots Rs 240 M Shares To Parties

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    SIDHUPALCHOWK, Oct 18:

    mbhotekoshiIn an apparent bid to appease the political parties, the Mid-Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project has allocated shares worth Rs 240 million to the parties´ local leaders and cadres.

    A source said the major political parties, which have secured shares in the project, have already issued internal circulars to their local leaders and cadres to buy the shares.

    According to the source, the shares were allotted to the parties in the name three hydropower promoters to avert any political disruptions in the course of project implementation.
    UCPN (Maoist), CPN(UML) and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) have each obtained one percent of the project shares.

    The 102-MW project had first allocated one percent each of its shares to Shindhupalchowk Hydropower Company, Nepal Araniko Hydropower Project and Shindu Investment Company, which allegedly front for the UCPN (Maoist), the CPN(UML) and the Nepali Congress respectively.

    Later, the company was compelled to allocate an additional one percent of shares to the RPP after it exerted pressure on the promoters to provide it a stake at par with the three major political parties.

    The project is confused over how to allocate the shares to RPP, as the party has not registered any firm, as have the other three.
    As the election mood grips every nook and corner of the district, the political parties have intensified their drive in the last couple of weeks to collect funds to pay for the shares.

    CPN(UML), UCPN (Maoist) and the NC have already paid their first installments to the company.  Similarly, they have stepped up their campaigns to collect funds for the second installment on the eve of the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) election — a move that contravenes the election code of conduct.

    The source also said the CPN (UML) and NC have so far raised Rs 4.8 million and Rs 1.4 million respectively to pay for their second installments, while the UCPN (Maoist) has collected Rs 2.5 million for the purpose.

    According to Ramesh Lama of RPP, the party has collected around Rs 10 million from its leaders and cadres after verbal assurances from the company over share allocations.
    “We have stepped up the collection of funds from our leaders and cadres as the company has agreed to allocate one percent of shares to our party following lengthy negotiations,” said Lama.

    The political parties have collected amounts in the range of Rs 100,000 to Rs 1,000,000 each from their leaders and cadres for buying the shares.
    “I have also invested Rs 700,000 for the shares after coming under pressure from our district leaders,” said a village committee chairman of the UCPN (Maoist).

    Local people have complained that political parties have used the shares as a sop to ensure unhindered implementation of the hydro project. “The company deliberately did a favor to the political parties, their leaders and cadres to ensure that the hydro project goes ahead smoothly and without any political disruptions,” said an official of the project, who is not happy with the company´s decision to provide its shares to the politically-linked firms.

    Prakash Awasthi, chief of the project, claimed however that the shares were allocated for local hydropower promoters, not for the benefit of specific political parties. “We have voiced objection to the political parties after we came to know that they have been raising money to pay for the shares,” said Awasthi.

    The Rs 14-billion project signed an agreement with the Employees Provident Fund for a Rs 6.19 billion loan last year. The company has also singed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned utility.

    Source : Republica