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No support for Nepal Maoists opposition to hydropower projects

world Updated: Sep 25, 2010 12:52 IST
Utpal Parashar

Maoists targeting Indian hydropower projects is old news in Nepal. But their fresh attack on 14 such projects has evoked unprecedented condemnation from all.

The main opposition party has asked the government to shelve these projects, mostly built by Indian firms, terming them as against Nepal’s interests and threatening to shut them down forcibly.

Such move at a time when Nepal government is in process of signing power development agreements with seven of the 14 projects has put a question mark on future of the ventures.

Significantly 10 of these projects with potential to generate nearly 3500 MW of power are being constructed by Indian firms or with Indian collaboration.

Terming the move as political, Energy Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat stated that despite allegations all legal formalities were fulfilled while initiating the projects.

“We are concerned at the Maoist stance and are committed to providing security to ensure completion of work,” said Mahat on Friday.

Nepal’s other two major parties, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, have termed the Maoist move as illogical and unconvincing.

“Maoists are exposing the bankruptcy of their economic thinking,” said senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat in an article published in the Republica daily.

Industry associations like Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry have also asked Maoists to withdraw the decision.

Other bodies like Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal and Confederation of Nepalese Industries stated that the move would adversely affect foreign investments.

“With one single stroke the Maoists have put at risk the investment made so far,” The Kathmandu Post quoted Sandip Shah of SN Power, a Norwegian firm developing the 880 MW Tamakoshi 3A project.

Newspaper editorials too haven’t spared the Maoists. The Republica daily’s Saturday editorial accused them of being “misguided” and “maintaining double standards”.

The Nepali Kantipur daily asked the Maoists to refrain from indulging in politics in developmental issues and withdraw the threat to stop projects.