Locals demand early construction of Upper Karnali



    Upper Karnali HEP
    Karnali River

    Locals of Dailekh, Surkhet and Achham districts have called for an early start of construction of the Upper Karnali Hydropwer, saying the 900-megawatt power project was not only in the interest of the locals but also in the interest of the entire country.

    The hydel project to be developed by a consortium comprising GMR Energy Limited, GMR Infrastructure Limited and Italian-Thai Development Project Co is in a state of limbo in the wake of a writ petition filed against it at the Supreme Court. The project has had a bumpy ride since GMR signed an MoU with the government of Nepal back in 2008.

    The locals also criticised the CPN-Maoist and Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party for disrupting works and spreading rumours that the project was against national interest.

    “Protests just for the sake of protest have been going on for long and such activities only hamper the overall development of the country,” said Suraj Jung Shahi, a local. “The project must be built at any cost.”

    The run of the river type power plant is to be constructed on Build Own and Operate and Transfer basis and is to be handed over after 30 years from the Commissioning Operation Date, scheduled for 2016. And with hindrances galore, the project is already running late.

    Locals from Dailekh, Bajura, Dang, Baitadi, Jumla and Salyan on July 14 moved the Supreme Court. With the case sub judice, the project’s fate hangs in the balance.

    Nepali Congress Dailekh district member Chandra Bahadur Shahi said ‘a handful of people’ have filed a petition at the court ‘in lure of commission’. “They filed the case in the name of locals but no one came to us to take our signatures before moving the court,” Shahi said.

    The locals also accused the government of being indifferent about the delay. “We want the contractor to begin the construction. We will retaliate against any force trying to obstruct the project works,” said Bhakta Bahadur Thapa of Sattala, Dailekh.

    Source : The Himalayan Times