Nepal Today

Saturday, June 15, 2013

SUNDAY MORNING TEMPERATURE IN CAPITAL 16 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 16 June: Sunday morning’s temperature on a rainy morning at seven 16 degrees Celsius. Mercury is expected to rise to 29 degrees Celsiuss in the afternoon. Nnnn GOVT. NEGOTIATES WITH INDIAN FIRM TO DEVELOP TWO POWER PROJECTS Kathmandu, 16 June:: The government is holding project development agreement (PDA) negotiations with GMR, an Indian infrastructure developer, for two large scale hydropower projects, namely 900 MW Upper Karnali and 600 MW Upper Marsyangdi, Bhoj Raj Poudel writes in Republica.. Nepal Investment Board (NIB), a high level government entity that facilitates the implementation of large scale infrastructure projects (of 500 MW and above), is engaged in the PDA negotiations with the developer since last week. "A taskforce comprising members from NIB, British legal consultant firm Herbert Smith, and the developer has been formed to sort out some of the issues that have been raised during the first round of negotiations," a high level source told Republica. According to the source, the taskforce has been given two weeks to identify a common point that both the government and the developer can agree on. "The taskforce that has been having its meeting in a row has already spent almost a week," the source revealed. NIB, which was formed almost one and half years ago in a bid to carry out the implementation of large scale projects in fast track mode, has formed a PDA negotiation team with Radhesh Pant, NIB chief executive officer as coordinator. Other members of the team include representatives from the Ministry of Energy (MoE) and Ministry of Finance among others. "PDA talks are going on," Keshav Dhwaj Adhikari, joint secretary at the MOE, who is also a member of the team, said declining to divulge the details. "We are not allowed to talk to the media." The government had allowed GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower Company and Himtal Hydropower Company - subsidiaries of GMR - to increase their capital and set up offices in New Delhi in December 2012. GMR, which has applied for power generation license of Upper Karnali, has not signed the project negotiation agreement (PNA) so far. NIB has been asking GMR to sign the PNA for the last one month. Normally, PDA is signed within 18 months of signing a PNA. The survey license that the government granted to GMR for Upper Karnali in May 2008 expired in last May. The developer should apply for a power generation license if it wants to secure the project in hand. Similarly, the two subsidiaries of GMR have increased their authorized and issued capital from Rs 450 million to Rs 1.9 billion for each of the companies. Additionally, NIB is also working to start PDA talks with Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, another Indian state-owned power developer, for 900 MW Arun III. According to a source close to the developer, Sutlej is arguing that it does not want to sign PDA as it is an Indian government-owned company. Nnnn DISQUALIFIED MAOIST COMBATANTS THREATEN POLL DISRUPTION Kathmandu, 16 June: Expressing dissatisfaction with the government over announcement of the election date without fulfilling their demands, the disqualified former Maoist combatants have warned of disrupting the polls scheduled for November 19, Republica reports.. The disqualified combatants have also warned of forming an 8th division of the People´s Liberation Army (PLA) as the seven former PLA divisions have already been dissolved. They claimed that the government and major four parties have invited a “disaster” by announcing the election date without forging consensus with the agitating parties. “We will form an 8th PLA division if our demands are not addressed,” Sagar Limbu, chief the discharged PLA told Republica on Saturday. At a press meet held in the capital, Limbu also said that the 4,008 discharged combatants would form two PLA divisions. These combatants were discharged from cantonments in 2010 for being minors and late recruits. The discharged combatants have been staging protests saying their demands were not addressed by their party or the government. They have forwarded a four-point demand to the government. Among other things, they have also demanded removal of the “disqualified” tag. The erstwhile Baburam Bhattarai-led government had announced to remove the disqualified tag of the discharged combatants. They have also demanded Rs 600,000 in rehabilitation package to each of the discharged combatants. In addition, they have also demanded release of arrested combatants. According to Limbu, around 70 discharged combatants are still in police custody. “We will stage all forms of protest, including enforcement of a general strike. We will change the form of the protests after forming a PLA division,” added Limbu. According him, the national convention of the party to be held on August 5- August 7 in Butwal will announce formation of the new PLA division and protest programs. Nnnn


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