Bomb set off at Arun III project site

Kathmandu, January 26

An unidentified group detonated an explosive device at the project site of the under-construction 900-megawatt Arun III Hydropower Project in Sankhuwasabha district on Saturday.

Senior Superintendent of Police Shekhar Koirala, spokesperson for Nepal Police in Province 1, has confirmed the blast at the project site on Saturday night. “Investigation into the incident has started. We have not arrested anyone connected with blast till now and no one has claimed responsibility to it.”

The hydropower project has repeatedly faced such attacks, with the blame often going to Netra Bikram Chand (Biplav)-led Communist Party. The last time the office came under attack was on February 8, 2019.

The blast caused by a pressure cooker bomb has damaged the generator of the project. The walls near the generator have also been damaged and pieces of the pressure cooker were found at the site of the explosion, said a project official, seeking anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media. “We are going to hold a meeting immediately with the concerned stakeholders to ensure the security of the project,” the source said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Santosh Budhathoki, who is also the district police chief of Sankhuwasabha, said he was unaware about the accident.

“I have heard about the accident but I don’t have details of the bomb blast.”

Amid the government’s attempt to attract foreign investors and investment in Nepal, frequent attacks witnessed by firms and projects with share of overseas companies have raised concerns about the security of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

In recent times, various unidentified groups have been attacking infrastructure of telecom firm Ncell and Upper Karnali Hydropower Project too and such incidents will discourage foreign investors from coming to Nepal, as per experts.

Moreover, they have opined that failure to ensure security to FDI projects will directly affect FDI flow into Nepal, which will ultimately affect various development goals of the country.