Indian firm in Maoist sights

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By J. HEMANTH
  • Published 26.01.10
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Kathmandu, Jan. 25: Nepal’s Maoists today ordered Indian construction and power firm GMR Energy to immediately stop work on a 300MW hydro project from which 88 per cent of the generation was to be exported to India.

The directive to stop constructing the Upper Karnali project in southwestern Nepal has been issued on the advice of the Maoist high command, politburo member Khadka Bahadur Biswakarma said today.

The Maoists, forced out of power, have been trying to whip up sentiments against India and accusing the neighbour of interfering in Nepal’s affairs.

“We will not allow further work as it is not going to benefit Nepal…. Only foreigners will benefit,” Biswakarma said.

The GMR-ITD Consortium, a subsidiary of GMR Energy, has been constructing the hydro project, and 80 per cent of the work has been completed. The Indian company won the project in 2008 through open bidding. The company is supposed to provide 12 per cent of the electricity generated to Nepal free of cost and sell the rest to India.

Biswakarma claimed that the interim government led by Girija Prasad Koirala had struck an agreement with India on the project a day before the Maoists joined the government 16 months ago.