Indian proposal on energy, hydro draws flak

The main opposition party UCPN (Maoist) has strongly objected to the draft of a Nepal-India bilateral energy cooperation proposal from India and suggested to the government not to accept it at any cost.

Following a meeting of the party´s senior leaders, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal suggested to the government “not to sign the proposed draft”, saying some of the provisions included in the draft are against the national interest. 

According to UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha, the issue was discussed seriously at the meeting held at party head office, Perisdanda on Saturday.

“As all the leaders at the meeting took the issue very seriously, the chairman directly telephoned Acting Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam and advised him to accept the proposal only after revising it in the interest of both countries,” Shrestha told Republica.

He said that there is a need for an agreement to create favorable grounds for mutual cooperation in hydro-power and energy trade between the two sides. “But our party is for preparing a new draft. The proposed one is unacceptable,” he further said.

Earlier, party spokesman Dinanath Sharma said that India´s proposal had drawn the party´s serious attention.

He said that the timing of the proposal and the way it was presented by the Indians raised serious questions.

“We heard that attempts have been made to reach a preliminary agreement at the bureaucratic level,” Sharma told reporters. “How can issues concerning the sharing of the country´s natural resources be finalized at a time when even the prime minister is outside the country and the main opposition is completely in the dark?”

Meanwhile, UML lawmakers questioned Energy Minister Radha Gyawali about India´s proposal during the UML parliamentary party meeting Saturday.

Gyawali tried to allay the lawmakers´ concerns, saying it was nothing new and that the ministry would finalize it only after ensuring Nepal´s national interests.

“It is only India´s draft proposal and our government will float our own proposal without compromising on national interests,” UML lawmaker Srimaya Thakali quoted Gyawali as telling the lawmakers.

Source: Republica