Petrol bomb hurled at GMR Group’s office in Kathmandu

Kathmandu: Unidentified men today hurled a petrol bomb at GMR Group’s office here amid the ongoing Madhesi stir in Nepal despite India’s earlier request to enhance security at facilities of the Indian infrastructure major, developing key hydropower projects in the country.

Window panes of the building were shattered but there was no further damage or casualty, police said.

The attack on the Chakupat-based office came amid a tense situation in Nepal where Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, are agitating over the country’s new Constitution.

Major Indian firms in Nepal have been hit by the ongoing blockade of key border trade points with India by Madhesis and the firms are struggling to export their products.

With the prolonged Madhesi agitation, subsidiaries of Indian companies such as Dabur, Unilever and ITC India have been operating below their capacity and are facing hurdles in exporting their products.

Madhesis, who have strong cultural and family bonds with India, have been protesting in the southern plains over their demands including re-demarcation of provinces, fixing of electoral constituencies on the basis of population and proportional representation.

Over 50 people have died in the four month-long agitation.

The GMR Group is developing the Upper Karnali (900 MW) and Upper Marshyangdi (600 MW) hydropower projects in Nepal.

The Indian firm has already started preparatory works to develop Upper Karnali Hydropower Project after signing a Project Development Agreement with Investment Board Nepal.

Earlier, the Embassy of India, Kathmandu had asked the Nepal government to conduct proper investigation into attacks against Indian entities in the country since last few months, saying that such incidents can severely dampen the confidence of the investors.

There were attempts to vandalise the Upper Karnali Hydropower Project office of the GMR situated in Surkhet using a petrol bomb on December 21. On September 29 also, a group of unidentified people had tried to vandalise the GMR office, company officials said.

They had also blamed a Maoist faction of carrying out the previous attacks.

GMR was also receiving such threats from time to time in the past, though no investigation was carried out so far in the matter, they said.

In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the embassy had requested the government to enhance the security at the GMR offices but it was not immediately known if more personnel were deployed.