Nepal vows protection to investors after attacks

Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai promised to provide necessary security to foreign investors coming to the country and special protection on power project sites.

Kathmandu: 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

"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

"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).


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