Monday, August 29, 2016

Following Up on the Open Letter to the Prime Ministers of Nepal and India

Rt. Hon. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal
His Excellency Narendra Damodardas Modi, Prime Minister of India

This is a follow up to the Open Letter that was submitted to the Prime Ministers of Nepal and India on 22nd November 2014 (attached). Since then, some interesting developments have taken place which, while re-confirming the veracity of our concerns have reinforced the arguments put for the in that Open Letter. The Project Development Agreement (PDA), which was kept secret (from the public as well as Parliament and the Supreme Court) by the authorities in the Investment Board on the pretext that it was a “commercial agreement” – a clear violation of the provisions for parliamentary hearing and approval in the constitution of Nepal both old and new – has been forced open into the public domain by activists who filed a case to this effect with the National Information Commission. Its reading confirms our worst fears that the PDA does not serve the interests of either the government or of the peoples of both Nepal and India, but only that of an (unduly) profit making body. Few burning issues can be summarized as follows:

• PDA preempts harnessing of full potential of the site (4,180 MW) as multipurpose project, which will deprive both Nepal and India from lean season augmented flow and flood control.

• 900 MW RoR (in violation of the tender provision for 300 MW wherein precluded parties might have made a better offer for the bigger version) project would also deprive both Nepal and India from dependable quality electricity, with downstream flood and erosion consequences for Nepal.

• With the provision for export of even 12% free energy under clause 11.15.4, this project will not help mitigate load shedding in Nepal.

• Provision for financial/fiscal facilities under clause 9(2) amounts to Nepali subsidizing India. Sum total of subsidy is Rs 76.5 billion, which is more than half of the inflated project cost of Rs 140 billion.

It has also become clear that the developer GMR is anything but: it does not have any credible financing plan that co-investors and funders can trust, only shenanigans of spuriously raising the costs to recover profits ultimately from the taxpayers and the unsuspecting co-investors. There are many other mischiefs indulged in by this spurious development enterprise which have been highlighted in our Open Letter of 22nd November to which we draw your collective attentions anew.

Nepal’s chronic load shedding has reached a stage near fatal to her commerce and industries. Furthermore, water shortage in Nepal and India’s North Ganga plains has reached levels of severe stress. Neither of these ills can be alleviated without storage of monsoon water in the Nepal hills and their release in the dry season, which is exactly what an optimal development of Upper Karnali as a 4000MW+ multipurpose storage project will do and which the current PDA with GMR will NOT do. Thus we put forth the case before Your Excellencies: not annulling the PDA with GMR forthwith will cast an unfortunate shadow of mistrust and suspicion on the officials and leaders of both countries.

We will seek redress in the courts, including the court of public opinion, nationally and internationally. We are writing this "reminder" because of the impending visits to New Delhi and to Kathmandu subsequently of the two Prime Ministers. We hope this matter will be taken up with due seriousness. We certainly will through Nepali, Indian and international academia, media and civic movements.

27 August 2016

Cc: Energy Minister of Nepal
Investment Board of Nepal
HE the Ambassador of India to Nepal

Civil Society Alliance for Rational Water Resources Development in Nepal

1. Prof. Dr. Hari P. Pandit, Institute of Engineering, TU 

2. Mr. Bihari Krishna Shrestha, anthropologist/former Additional Secretary 

3. Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani, former Minister of Finance/Foreign Affairs 

4. Dr. Ananda B Thapa, former Executive Secretary, WECS 

5. Dr. Dwarika Nath Dhungel, former Secretary Ministry of Water Resources 

6. Mr. Dipak Gyawali, Academician, NAST, former Minister of Water Resources 

7. Prof. Dr. Mohan P Lohani, former Ambassador 

8. Mr. Bharat Basnet, The Explore Nepal 

9. Mr Ajit Narayan Singh Thapa, former MD, NEA 

10. Mr. Lok B Rawat, Chair, KARBACOS 

11. Mr. Ratna Sansar Shrestha, former member, NEA board of directors 

12. Mr Lila Mani Pokhrel, UCPN (Maoist)
13. Mr Amar Narayan Mali, Tourism Enpreneur, Kathmandu
14. Mr Tek Bdr Bishowkarma, SS Nepal
15. Mr Bharat Bdr Shahi, Dailekh
16. Mr Deependra Bdr Kshetry, former Governor of NRB
17. Mr Bakhat Bdr Nepali, Dailekh
18. Er Saroj Shahi, Dailekh
19. Mr Govind Singh Thapa, Kathmandu
20. Mr Jagat Pd Regmi, Dailekh
21. Prof. Dr Surendra KC, Tribhuvan University
22. Dr Gopal Siwakoti Chintan, Tribhuvan University
23. Dr Mangal Bishowkarma
24. Mr Bhairaja Rai, Advocate
25. Mr Purna Bdr Kunwar
26. Mr Tek Bdr Bishowkarma
27. Ms Khuma Subedi
28. Mr Hari Sharan Lamichhane, Journalist
29. Mr Jagat Prasad
30. Mr Chitra Bdr KC, Chair, Rashtriya Jana Morcha

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