Project works to restart soon: IBN

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    DAILEKH, MAY 29 –

    Upper Karnali HEPInvestment Board Nepal (IBN) has assured that works on the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project will soon pick up momemtum.

    “The development of the project will take off soon,” said IBN CEO Radesh Panta, who is currently leading a team to districts affected by the project. “It will be developed honouring the interest of locals in Dailekh , Achham and Surkhet.”

    Amid uncertainty over the project that has faced the wrath of CPN-Maoist, Rastriya Janamorcha Party and Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party, the IBN team visited Dailekh to solicit suggestions from the locals for a project development agreeement (PDA) with the developer, GMR Energy Limited.

    “We will hold talks with the GMR while considering the interest of the government as well as the locals,” said Khagendra Prasad Rijal, under secretary at the IBN.

    Political parties, incuding CPN-Maoist, have been saying that the agreement with the GMR is against the national interest and should be scrapped. In May 2011, a group of UCPN (Maoist) cadres had torched the project office buildings. Of late, the CPN (Maoist) has stood against the project.

    The IBN has stated that it will complete the PDA agreement with the GMR within two months. Before that the two parties have to agree on nine points in principle. Once the PDA agreement is signed, the company will manage funds within two years and complete the construction work within eight years.

    The IBN on Monday held interaction with leader of political parties, party cadres and locals in Dailekh , on Tuesday the interaction was held in Aacham and on Wednesday in Surkhet. During the interaction with the IBN team, locals demanded they be given first priority for employment, guarantee of electrification, among others.

    During the programme held at the damsite of the project, Upper Karnali Hydropower Protection and Struggle Commite handed over a 13-point demand to the IBN.

    The project that lies in Dailekh and Achham districts is estimated to cost Rs 139.50 billion. GMR has agreed to provide 108 MW (440 million units a year) of free electricity to Nepal once the project comes into operation and free equity of 27 percent.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post