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  Locals in favor of Upper Karnali project  


PALTADA (DAILEKH), May 26: Deumani Joshi´s chest had swollen with pride at the prospect of seeing electricity generated at his backyard when construction works of the Upper Karnali Hydroelectricity Project started a few years ago.

But all that initial euphoria gave way to gloom and frustration when the three buildings of Indian power developer GMR in Paltada were burnt to ashes on Sunday. “My heart wept at seeing the office that came here for development being burnt to ashes in front of my eyes,” Joshi, 60, said.

Joshi is not the only one saddened by the act of around 25-30 persons who had barged into the GMR´s premises at about 4 pm Sunday chanting slogans that the Upper Karnali project was against the national interest and set ablaze all three office buildings of the company. Many locals shared Joshi´s pain and claimed they were in favor of the project despite a few political parties projecting it as an anti-national project.

“We don´t know whether the project is in or against national interest,” said Dhir Bahadur Shahi, a local cadre of the anti-project Nepal Workers and Peasants Party. It is not appropriate to destroy development infrastructure and the leaders have not even explained the rationale of their grievances to the locals,” Shahi added.

The locals are sad that they have been linked to Sunday´s attack despite their support to the project. “We have got jobs and development and will get electricity in the future. It would be a crime to attack such an office,” Joshi explained.

“We don´t understand politics. He who gives us development is our god,” Joshi said in support of the project that has been involved in development of health, education, and other sectors in the area.

Maoist involvement

Secretariat Member of the Maoist Bheri-Karnali State Committee Krishna Bahadur Dhamal has denied the party´s involvement in the attack claiming they have no reasons to attack the office despite their stance that the Upper Karnali agreement is not in the national interest. But police claimed of Maoist involvement in the attack.

“The eye witnesses and locals have claimed that the Maoists attacked the buildings,” Inspector at the Paltada Police Post Navaraj Khadka said. “We have even identified a few persons and will bring them to book,” Khadka added.

The locals may have identified the guilty but are reluctant to name them in public for fear of security. “Those who poured petrol on the buildings had been regularly seen around here in search of jobs and at times seeking donations. But they were in quite a different avatar that day,” was all a local said refusing to identify himself.

Published on 2011-05-27 04:00:45
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