Sun, 04 Nov 2012 10:50:50 GMT

Breakaway Maoists threaten stir against India hydro project

From Shirish B Pradhan
Kathmandu, Nov 3 (PTI) The youth wing of Nepal Maoists'' breakaway faction today threatened to launch an agitation if a treaty for a joint hydropower project with India was not scrapped.

The Rastriya Yuva Janaswyamsebak (RYJS), the newly-formed youth wing of the hardline Mohan Vaidya-led Maoist faction, warned the Baburam Bhattarai government that if the project was not scrapped they may "take up arms against it".

Chairman of RYJS, Udaya Bahadur Chalaune, claimed his group had conducted field visits to various districts in southern Nepal including Sunsari, Dhunkuta, Udayapur and Bhojpur and estimated that the Saptakoshi High Dam Project with 259 metres height will displace more than 300,000 people if constructed.

Addressing a press conference in Dharan in eastern Nepal today, Chalaune asked the Baburam Bhattarai government to immediately scrap the treaty signed with India more than a decade ago.

"We have already informed the government about it and if UCPN-Maoist chief Prachanda and Prime Minister Bhattarai start implementing the project on any pretext ignoring our voice, we may take up arms against it," warned Chalaune.

He claimed that Prachanda and Bhattarai had agreed to resume the project with India in spite of protests by the hardliner faction of the party led by Vaidya.

The governments of India and Nepal have been considering the project for years, before they agreed to work on a detailed project report in 2004.

Political agitations in Nepal since 2005 put the project in cold storage and the two countries later agreed to resume work in 2008.

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