Nepal to deploy army to protect GMR's hydro project

The decision comes in the wake of frequent attacks and threat issued by the cadres of UCPN-Maoist on the project site citing that the project does not fulfill Nepal's national interest.

On May 22, a group of people led by some local Maoist cadres vandalised and torched three office buildings of the project at Dailekh. The government through a cabinet decision yesterday decided to deploy Nepal Army for the security of hydro power projects, including the 900 MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Project, sources said.

During his visit to Nepal recently, India's External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had raised concern for the security of Indian joint ventures operating in Nepal.

"The government took the decision to allow smooth functioning of the power project and the decision will be implemented immediately," Energy Minister Gokarna Bista told reporters after the Cabinet meeting yesterday. However, the number and the command of the Army team to be deployed have not yet been finalised.

"Details, including the size of the contingent, will depend on the demand and the situation at the project sites," Bista said. He said the government is ready to deploy the Army in any domestic and joint-venture hydro power projects to ensure full security.

Two days ago, Maoist politburo member Dharmendra Bastola had warned that his party was ready to shed blood if the GMR is given the contract for the much-hyped project.

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