Lopsided interest

The Maoists have been requested by the major coalition partners the Nepali Congress and the CPN (UML), and the other political parties not to disrupt the Upper Karnali Hydro Project and other projects with foreign investments in the country. The Maoist claim that the Upper Karnali Hydro Project is not in Nepal's interest tells a lot about the Maoists because this project was approved by the Prachanda-led government and endorsed by other political parties. The GMR-ITD Consortium has been constructing the project that would generate 300 MW of electricity. Its completion would add more power to the national grid. According to the arrangements made, the company would be providing 12 per cent of the electricity generated from the project to Nepal free of cost. In this context, the Maoist move to halt this hydro project work has raised concern domestically and internationally as well, particularly among the foreign investors in various big development projects in Nepal. Since Nepal does not have the necessary capacity to execute such projects on its own it has to rely on foreign collaboration. At a time when Nepal is feeling the pinch of long power outage it was expected that the Upper Karnali Hydro Project on completion would bring some relief with reduction in the load shedding duration.

The Upper Karnali Hydro Project is one project with immense potential. The Maoists have themselves been talking about exploiting the hydro potential and generating 10,000 megawatt of electricity while they were in power, but now in a total reversal they have made the inexplicable decision to halt works that are for the overall national development. However, although it was reported earlier that the step to halt the project was taken as per the central policy of the Maoist party, the Maoists have now said that they would see what is happening in the Upper Hydro Karnali Project and then consider the request of the Nepali Congress and the UML. The Maoists should realize that they are doing a disservice to the nation by scaring away foreign investors, particularly at a time when it is in dire need of foreign investment in order to expedite development works, especially hydropower generation. During the conflict period the country had suffered enough with potential investors reluctant to invest in the big development projects that were lucrative deals.

Besides, by halting the hydel projects, such as the one in the Upper Karnali, locals of the project sites who would be benefiting from employment opportunities to ameliorate their standard of living would stand to lose the most. The Maoists' assertion that it would not allow big projects to be initiated during the transition period might have prompted the local cadres to halt the Upper Karnali Hydro Project. The Maoists should see the harm that they are doing by taking such unilateral steps for petty political interests. It is hoped that the Maoists will reverse such damage inducing decisions at this transient times when the country is striving to carry on with the very much needed development activities that only enhanced electricity generation can bring about.

Civil reflection

Ten days of the garbage remaining on the streets uncollected, leave aside the talk of disposal, has done a great deal to further blot the images of all the urban centres across the country. And, Kathmandu metropolitan city holds the dubious

distinction of holding the record for the sheer amount of waste piled up everywhere to the despair of all except those who matter in the filthy game. One just wonders what made the local body employees get back to their task of cleaning up the waste. They can be thanked only for one thing, that a sort of normalcy is returning to affirm that something is better than nothing.

Realization is there among the civil people that we profess to be that the "thorough clean up" in normal times is not really up to the hundred percent mark, because no sooner are the streets brushed by the brooms we rush out to dirty them once

more. We remain the big offenders, but it is so easy to blame the local bodies solely. The proliferating waste culture, not to speak of that choking plastic stuffs, is what adds up to the woes of the clean city thoughts. As long as the urban dwellers and the local body employees do not go for a sort of joint venture respites will be elusive.