Kathmandu, Sep 12 :
Activists of Nepal’s hardline Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) burnt copies of the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) with India as part of their protests Friday.
Nepal and India initially signed the PTA last week in New Delhi aiming to boost bilateral power trade.
The Maoist party, along with 10 other leftist parties of Nepal, has decided to hold month-long protests against what they call the unfair and unequal power trade with India.
As Nepal and India are set to sign the PTA at the highest political level, the Maoists are voicing their opposition to all kinds of power deals with India.
“We will be forced to come in street if the PTA with India is signed and other energy-related agreements are done,” Pampha Bhusal, CPN-M spokesperson, said.
Cadres of the opposition parties staged a sit-in outside the southern gate of Singha Durbar, Nepal’s main administrative building, and burnt a copy of the PTA as a symbolic protest.
Similarly, PTA copies were also burnt in front of the district administration offices in each district of the country.
Party leaders addressed the protest gatherings and objected to the issues raised in the PTA, saying these were against national interest.
The leaders said that the hydropower project of Upper Karnali should be constructed through national investment and it should not be given to the Indian side.
Bhusal said the copy of the PTA was burnt based on the decision made by the agitating parties. The party also protested another power project, Arun III (900 MW), between the Nepal government and GMR Consortium of India.
As the Maoist activists were burning the PTA copies, Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey claimed Friday that the PTA with India is in the Himalayan nation’s national interest and would pave the way for foreign investment in Nepal.
“The accord is not against Nepal’s interest. It will help build cross-border connectivity and extension of grid. Power development is essential for Nepal’s economic and social development, so the agreement with India was reached on mutual trust and understanding,” said Pandey.
The PTA with India has opened a new avenue for energy development and it would help attract foreign investment as well as Indian investment in Nepal’s energy sector, he added.