Maoists stop work at another Indian venture in Nepal

February 16th, 2010 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 16 (IANS) As Nepal’s first President Ram Baran Yadav began his maiden state visit to India to cement ties with the neighbouring country, the country’s former Maoist guerrillas have prevented work at a hydropower project in western Nepal with major Indian investment.
Survey at the 250 MW Upper Marsyangdi hydropower project in Lamjung district came to a stop with the Maoists’ regional organisation, the Tamu Rastriya Mukti Morcha, planting the party’s hammer-imprinted red flags at the site Monday and disrupting work.

The project was initially licensed to Nepali company Himtal Hydro Power Company Ltd. Later, India’s infrastructure and energy group GMR bought 80 percent stake in the Nepali company.

The Maoists have stopped work at the project site, saying at a time Nepal is heading restructuring into autonomous states, the governments of the states should be given the authority to allocate power projects and other schemes that involve natural resources.

This is the fourth hydropower project to face disruption due to opposition by the former guerrillas even though Nepal is facing an acute energy crisis with nearly 15 hours of power outage daily.

This year, the Maoists, who have started fresh protests against the present government, have pledged to prevent work at the 300 MW Upper Karnali project, also licensed to GMR, the 402 MW Arun III to be developed by India’s Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, and the 750 MW West Seti Project under a consortium led by an Australian company in which India’s Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services has a stake.

The new disruption comes after Nepal’s Energy Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat attended a power summit in India’s Kolkata city recently, asking Indians to invest in Nepal and pledging adequate security by his government.

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