After Indian infrastructure company GMR broke the ice in Nepal's hydropower sector and entered the Himalayan republic with a licence to develop the 900 MW Upper Karnali hydropower project, a string of other Indian firms have turned their attention to Nepal, with GMR's competitor Jindal being the latest entrant.
Jindal, which had even gone to court over the Upper Karnali project, has been given a licence to develop the 454 MW Chainpur Seti project in remote Bajhang district. Jindal Power Limited, a subsidiary of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, has been issued a two-year licence to complete the first survey. The project is reportedly estimated to cost about (Nepali) Rs 24 billion and is expected to be completed in seven years.
In the past, GMR's entry was followed by the public sector Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam bagging the contract for the 402 MW Arun 3 hydropower project.
Now GMR's decision to explore Nepal has sparked interest in the northern neighbour with several investors from southern India ready to debut in Nepal. The Hyderabad-based PES Energy Pvt Ltd has also entered Nepal's hydropower sector with the 210 MW Phulkot Karnali project, located in the remote Kalikot district, while Nanda Devi Agro Farms Pvt Ltd, also from Hyderabad, has bagged the 350 MW Dudhkoshi project in northern Solukhumbu district, regarded as the gateway to Mt Everest.
Despite the controversy surrounding it following the attempt by Satyam to acquire it in 2008, Maytas Estates, also from Hyderabad, still has its presence in the ring, owning the licence for the 138 MW Dudhkoshi 2 project in Solukhumbu.
Haryana's Lanco Infratech Ltd has been given one of the biggest hydropower projects, the 303 MW Namlan project while a private company based in Shimla, Everest Power Pvt Ltd, has also gained a foothold in Nepal with the 184 MW Upper Karnali St-1 project in Kalikot district.