Doubts about Maytas’ hydropower bids in Nepal

January 9th, 2009 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Ramalinga RajuKathmandu, Jan 9 (IANS) As skeletons began tumbling out of the cupboards of India’s IT bellwether company Satyam and the infrastructure company associated with it, Maytas Infra, there is also growing doubt about the latter’s bid to foray into Nepal’s hydropower sector.Maytas Infra - whose chairman resigned this week after one of its chief promoters, Satyam chief B. Ramalinga Raju owned up to a colossal corporate fraud - has made a bid for a 110 MW hydropower project on the Budi-Gandaki Arket river in western Nepal’s Gorkha district.

Along with Maytas Infra, in which Raju and his family hold 36 percent stake, its unlisted real estate wing Maytas Properties - in which the Rajus hold 35 percent - has applied for the 102 MW Dudhkoshi 2 hydropower project in northern Solukhumbu district.

The bids were made on the same day around two years ago when Satyam’s fortunes were soaring.

However, with hydropower being one of the slowest moving sectors in Nepal, the water resources ministry sat on the applications. The political uncertainty in the country also added to the delay.

Now ironically, as Satyam tarnished its halo, the Nepal ministry has decided to begin screening the applications.

However, the good news for the two Maytas firms is that Nepal, preoccupied with its own woes - that includes a daily 12-hour power outage and the closing down of industries by militant trade unions - has not followed the vicissitudes in their fortunes.

Anup Kumar Upadhyay, spokesman at the water resources ministry, told IANS that the ministry has decided to move projects around 100 MW. It would soon ask the bidders to furnish the additional documents it needs within two months.

There are no other contenders for the two projects that the Maytas have been eyeing in Nepal.

However, with the Satyam exposure having created panic, it now remains to be seen if the two Maytas companies would be ready to go ahead with new ventures in a foreign country, especially one as volatile as Nepal.

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