Groups urge govt to scrap Upper Karnali contract with GMR

Published On: August 22, 2019 08:09 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 22: Representatives from various organizations and activists have asked Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali to scrap the contract agreement with Indian company GMR Group to develop the 900 MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Project based in Dailekh district in the western part of the country.

Chairman of Pushpa Lal Fellowship Center, Jagannath Khatiwada, Chairman of Save Upper Karnali National Campaign, Bharat Bahadur Shahi, Coordinator of Rastriya Jagaran Parishad Nepal, Sadhya Bahadur Bhandari, and hydropower activist Ratan Bhandari, submitted a memorandum to Minister Gyawali on Wednesday demanding that the agreement with the GMR be scrapped.

In the memorandum, the representatives have said that it would be against Nepal’s national interest not to scrap the agreement with the company that failed to make financial arrangement for the project even five years after the project was awarded to the company. As per the agreement, the company should have finalized the financial arrangement within two years after the agreement, it said. 

“But the company has failed to do so even in five years and the Investment Board of Nepal has extended the deadline twice against the provision of the PDA [Project Development Agreement],” read the memorandum. “By not fulfilling its responsibility of making financial arrangement for the project as per the PDA provision, it has become clear that the GMR has backed out from its responsibility.” 

The government of Nepal and the GMR company had signed the PDA on September 19, 2014. They have argued that the company has failed to make any progress in developing the project despite that the government was giving several privileges to the company. 

Those demanding cancellation of the project include leaders from ruling Neapli Communist Party as well as other groups.

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