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Blast at Nepal’s hydroelectricity project’s office weeks before inauguration by PM Modi

The compound wall of the 900 MW Arun III Hydroelectric Power Plant’s office in Khandbari-9, Tumlingtar, was damaged in the explosion

india Updated: Apr 29, 2018 22:54 IST
Anil Giri
Anil Giri
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Nepal,Blast,Blast at Nepal’s hydroelectricity project’s office
Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli (L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi.(REUTERS File Photo)

A bomb exploded near the office of a power project in eastern Nepal being developed with aid from India, just weeks ahead of its foundation laying by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The office of Arun III hydroelectric project in Tumglingtar, being developed by India’s state-owned Sutluj Jala Viduyt Nigam (SJVN), was targeted by an unidentified group at midnight, said Shiva Raj Joshi, chief district officer of Sankhuwasabha, adding that some parts of the office wall was damaged.

No one was injured and police has started a manhunt for those behind the blast, Joshi said, adding that no group has claimed responsibility.

The explosion occurred hours after a panel led by Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli awarded the generation licenses of the project to SJVN. A meeting of Investment Board Nepal, which is chaired by Oli, decided to award the generation licenses to SJVN ahead of its foundation laying by Modi and Oli on May 11.

This was the second blast in a month targeting Indian facilities in Nepal. On April 17, a pressure cooker bomb went off near the Indian embassy’s field office in Biratnagar, damaging the walls of the premises.

Arun III, a 900 MW run-of-the-river project, is funded by India and is slated to be operational by 2020 as per the agreement. But it is unlikely to meet the deadline due to delay in financial closure and other troubles.

A Project Development Agreement was signed with SJVN on November 25, 2014 in the presence of the then Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Modi.

Nepal is currently facing a power shortage and the production of electricity from the project will mainly serve its domestic needs.

The project is expected to bring in $1.5 billion foreign direct investment into Nepal and create jobs for thousands of people.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Apr 29, 2018 13:57 IST