The threat by Nepal's Maoists to stop work by an Indian firm-led consortium on the 300 MW Upper Karnali hydro-power project has evoked criticism from several quarters.
Locals, political parties and the business community have condemned the main opposition party--Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) for asking GMR-ITD Consortium to stop work on the project by Sunday on the ground that it was not in 'Nepal's favour'.
"When the Maoists were in power they kept mum, and now that they are in opposition, they are protesting," said Dambar GC, a senior leader of the ruling Nepali Congress.
The threat is part of UCPN (M) strategy of targeting India. In recent weeks, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has demanded return of India-occupied Nepali soil and a re-look at all treaties between the two neighbours.
Reports say that locals in the area bordering Surkhet, Accham and Dailekh districts where the project is located have asked the Maoists to take back the threat as it would affect employment and the region's development.
Leaders from the Communist Party of Nepal (UML) and representatives of the Surkhet Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Upper Karnali Stakeholders Committee have also made similar requests.
Although no reaction has come yet from the Indian Embassy, a newspaper report quoting an engineer stationed at the project stated that they not received any authentic information on the Maoist threat.
A consortium comprising GMR Energy, GMR Infrastructure and Italian-Thailand Development Project is working on the project that is expected to be completed in 2016. It would supply 12 percent of the total power free of cost to Nepal.
Nearly 80 per cent work on the detailed project report process has been completed and the rest is to be completed in six months. The Upper Karnali is a run of the river project developed on build, own, operate, transfer (BOOT) basis.
The GMR group, which owns the Indian Premier League franchisee Delhi Daredevils, has also acquired 80 per cent stake in Himtal Hydropower Company that is working on the 250 MW Upper Marsyangdi power project in Nepal.