Maoist cadres threaten Upper Karnali hydel project

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    SURKHET, Sept 10: Mohan Vaidya led CPN-Maoist have threatened Upper Karnali Hydro Project in western Nepal claiming the project was against Nepal´s national interests.

    CPN-Maoist cadres protested in front of the 900 MW project office in Surkhet on Monday, chanting slogans and threatening the Indian Company GMR tasked with the project to leave or face protests.

    “If GMR does not leave by itself, we will force them out from the country,” said Thammar Bista, District Secretary of CPN Maoist. “We will not allow the company to go ahead with the construction at any cost as its against our national interest.”

    The cadres accused GMR of geeting the project by influencing bureaucrats four years ago. After the protest, Bheri-Karnali State Committee of CPN-Maoist and Karnali Watershed Conservation Society jointly handed over a memorandum to GMR officials.

    The memorandum signed by the president of watershed society Lok Bahadur Rana said projects like Upper Karnali should not be export oriented. “Nepal should have 51 per cent share in the project but the government has turned a deaf ear to our voices,” said Rana.

    The memorandum signed by Bheri Karnali State Committee secretary Bharat Bam warned of nationwide protests against the project if GMR did not leave the project.

    Works stalled due to delay in PDA

    On the other hand, project officials say they have stopped work due to delay in signing Project Development Agreement (PDA). The company said the delay in PDA had pushed the project works into uncertainty. “We cannot move forward without PDA document,” said Pradip Nepal, Deputy Manager, GMR Surkhet Office.

    Nepal said that though the company had requested the ministry of Energy to sign PDA two years ago, it has not yet been finalized. He added that due to the delay, the company has not been able to finalize financial aspects for Detail Project Report (DPR). “There is no possibility of financial report for the DPR without PDA, it would have been easy for the project to move into construction phase if PDA document was finalized,” added Nepal.

    PDA document is an agreement between promoters of the project and the government. The UCPN-M cadres attacked the Dailekh office of the project after which the government decided to deploy security force.

    According to GMR, it has already invested Rs 550 million for study of the project and its license has been renewed twice. in In November the government extended the term of the license by one year to finalize detailed report. The company informed that if the situation remains same it would not be possible to finalize the work on added time.

    Source : The Republica