Nepal vows protection to investors after attacks

Oct 14, 2011

Kathmandu 13 Oct: Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Thursday promised to provide necessary security to foreign investors coming to the country and special protection on power project sites, months after an attack on an Indian infrastructure and power major by suspected Maoist cadres, raised concerns.

At the helm of a Maoist-led government, Bhattarai also said that "involvement of our southern neighbour India becomes inevitable" while developing large scale hydropower, and promised that all "pending issues" in such projects will be resolved."The government of Nepal is resolute in matters of maintaining law and order everywhere in the country, special security measures will be taken in power project sites whenever necessary," the prime minister said while inaugurating the 'Nepal Energy Investors Forum' here

The Prime Minister said accelerated development of power sector infrastructure was required to boost Nepal's economic growth and promised to bridge shortcomings, if any, in creating investment friendly environment."We are observing that private sector investors in hydropower projects are having hard time in meeting unending demands of building local infrastructures and providing social services from the project affected inhabitants," he said.

The Prime Minister's remarks came in the backdrop of attacks allegedly by the local Maoist cadres few months ago on GMR Group's three offices in Dailekh district in western Nepal, where the Indian energy giant has been developing 900 MW Upper Karnali hydropower project."An accelerated development of power sector infrastructure such as hydropower stations and transmission lines, including that needed for cross-border power transmission, is essential to energise the targeted economic growth," the Prime Minister noted."Efforts will be geared towards developing understanding for implementing projects of mutual interest and the pending issues will be resolved one after another," he said.

Meanwhile, Energy Minister Posta Bahadur Bogati said the government has provided Armed Police Force as security measure for the Upper Karnali Project situated in Dailekh, where GMR has been engaged in developing hydropower project.In the wake of the frequent attacks by the Maoist cadres on various hydro-power projects, he said "we will discuss the matter within our party and resolve the issue."

Nepal government will accord high priority to building reservoir based hydropower projects so that there will be no deficit of electricity during winter season, when the water level goes down in the rivers, Bogati said.Vice Chairman of Asian Development Bank Xiaoyu Zhao, in his opening remarks, said, "ADB will continue to support construction of medium scale power plants for domestic use and private sector initiatives for large scale export-oriented power projects."

He also informed that ADB will provide assistance for detailed engineering design for the 127 MW Tanhu Hydropower Plant, mainly for domestic use and the assistance is in pipeline in 2012.Around 120 delegates including energy experts, representatives from donor countries, financial institutions, government officials and power investors are taking part in the two day conference being organised jointly by the Nepal government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

( PTI)

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