Decks clear for GMR to sign power pact in Nepal

Kathmandu, Aug 12 (IANS) The Nepal government and India's GMR Group will now go ahead to build the 900 MW Upper Karnali project in the western part of the country. Nepal's Supreme Court Sunday vacated a stay order, paving the way for further negotiations on a Power Development Agreement (PDA) between the two sides.

Without the PDA, the project cannot move ahead. The Investment Board of Nepal (IBN), a government entity that facilitates mega projects including hydropower projects of 500 MW and above, will hold negotiations on the PDA with GMR Energy.

GMR and its consortium companies GMR Energy, GMR Infrastructure and Italian-Thai Development Project Company had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government for developing the project.

The Supreme Court in its July 23 order had asked the government not to proceed with the PDA negotiations with GMR.

"It means the government can go ahead with the PDA negotiations, it can do so with the scrapping of this interim order," said Shreekant Poudel, spokesperson of Nepal's Supreme Court, after a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma and Justice Prakash Wosti Sunday evening vacated the stay order.

The bench was responding to a petition filed by 29 people of the project-affected areas. They had demanded that all past agreements reached with GMR and its survey licence were illegal and the MoU signed between the Government of Nepal and GMR Energy on Jan 24, 2008 to develop the project had ignored the rights of the locals in the affected areas.

At the time of the MoU signing on Jan 24, 2008, GMR had agreed to provide 27 percent free equity and 12 percent of the energy produced from the Upper Karnali project to Nepal.

The petitioners claimed that GMR had failed to comply with the provision of starting the project within three months of signing the MoU and furnishing a progress report every six months as per the Electricity Regulation.

IBN Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Radhesh Pant told media that the apex court's latest ruling has paved the way for resumption of PDA negotiations that had been halted since the interim order was issued.

"The PDA negotiation with the GMR is going well, as there has been convergence in most of the significant issues," he said.

Apart from Upper Karnali, GMR is also developing the 600 MW Upper Marsyangdi hydropower project.

Before giving the final verdict, the Supreme Court will hear explanations from the Prime Minister Office, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conversation, Department of Electricity Development, GMR Upper Karnali Hydropower and GMR Consortium on why the concerns raised by the locals were ignored and why their grievances were not addressed.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Pietersen may play against Hyderabad

Pietersen may play against Hyderabad

As much as Pietersen's availability is a boost, the loss of a potent death bowler might sting Delhi badly. More »

Struggling Mumbai need batting fuel

Struggling Mumbai need batting fuel

Mumbai have explosive hitters down the order in the form of Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard, but the lack of contributions from them has compounded their… More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Srinivasan's ICC presence to be challenged

Srinivasan's ICC presence to be challenged

Srinivasan, who has been replaced by the court as board president, was named the BCCI's representative to the ICC last September. However, that position… More »

Brilliant Maxwell powers Punjab’s renaissance

Brilliant Maxwell powers Punjab’s renaissance

Maxwell has easily been the best player on display in the first nine days, with scores of 95, 89 and 95 helping Punjab shed their image of also-rans and… More »

Indian cricket is now dope-free

Indian cricket is now dope-free

The BCCI conducted over 200 dope tests during senior domestic tournaments in the just-ended 2013-14 season – the largest number of tests done by an ICC… More »

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Couldn't turn down ECB offer: Farbrace

Couldn't turn down ECB offer: Farbrace

England's new assistant coach Paul Farbrace admitted that it was impossible turn down the job even though he will have mixed feelings when he faces… More »

Atapattu likely to be SL interim coach

Atapattu likely to be SL interim coach

Sri Lanka's chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya issued the strongest indication yet that Marvan Atapattu would be appointed coach for the tour of Ireland… More »

T20 is all about the little things: Balaji

T20 is all about the little things: Balaji

Balaji acknowledged Maxwell’s role in Punjab’s great start to season seven, but he insists that the efforts of other players like Virender Sehwag, among… More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Is Srini group delaying BCCI meeting?

Is Srini group delaying BCCI meeting?

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'Gambhir will strike form soon'

'Gambhir will strike form soon'

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »