(Recently Nepal government has decided to deploy the Nepal Army to ‘protect’ Upper Karnali Hydro Power Project. The deployment of the army to protect Indian investment is not in favor of the national interest of the country. In fact it is an anti-national decision done by the incumbent UML-Maoist led coalition government. This decision has raised a lot of questions and debates, and it has made the Napalese people very furious. Sister organisations of UCPN are preparing for a mass rally against this decision. This article helps to make correct opinion on this issue.)
The meeting of the cabinet of the Government of Nepal on June 15 decided to deploy the Nepal Army personnel to provide security to the sites of hydro-power projects including for contracts have been granted to Indian Companies in majority. The cabinet comprises the representatives of Unified Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) as second largest number. The contracts under the built-operate-transfer mode has been granted to private companies.
There has been a series of protest by people against these companies involved in construction activities. They are demanding for proper rehabilitation of displaced people due to these projects and jobs for local people. However, critical point which has not be in demand and should have been at the centre of protest is the ownership of natural resources. According to the agreement, the electricity generated in these power projects would be the property of companies which are constructing these power projects. The government of Nepal will be provided a minimal share of the electricity. The rest of it will be supplied to India in a price agreeable between Indian companies and Indian Government.
It is reported that the opposition to the projects is being led by the local leaders of the UCPN (M). The larger issues is: why will the cabinet which comprises the Maoists deploy the military to crush the opposition led by its own party people?
It seems that the party leadership is trying to achieve two goals at a time. In one hand it wants to bargain with India by opposing the projects controlled by Indian companies to prove its legitimacy with Indian establishments and on the other hand wants to force the company to provide financial contribution to the party. In Nepal, all political parties have a large number of full time members who are young men and women of productive age. Unfortunately these private companies are the only source of financial support to these parties to manage such large number people.
This agreement of the party to mobilise the Armed force personnel to protect the private interests clearly shows that the UCPN (M) has transformed itself into a party of same colour with other Nepali political parties in which popular demands related to natural resources and ownership will be manipulated for financial and political gain. People who will oppose the grab of natural resources will be crushed militarily. It is highly unfortunate and regretable.