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Nepal bombing has India Inc jittery
BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi | August 18, 2004 08:03 IST
The Maoist threats looms large over Indian business interests in Nepal. Dabur Nepal Ltd, a subsidiary of Dabur India Ltd, has temporarily suspended its greenhouse operations in the Himalyan kingdom.
Workers have been asked not to report to work for the next few das. "The issue is likely to be revisited after a week or ten days," sources close to the company said. The company grows 4-5 million saplings a year in its greenhouses in Nepal.
Tobacco giant ITC's joint venture -- Surya Nepal -- has decided to suspend operations indefinitely after a diktat from Akhil Nepal Mazdoor Trade Union Mahasangh earlier this month that a dozen companies including Surya Nepal would not be allowed to operate because of their exploitation of workers and spying activities.
Coca-Cola distributor Bottlers' Nepal and other factories engaged in carpet tradings have also been asked to shut operations.
A cycle-borne terrorist hurled four grenades into Soaltee Crowne Plaza, a five star hotel in which the Oberoi Group has 6 per cent stake, in Kathmandu on Monday.
Though nobody was injured, the hotel is reported to be moving is guests out. The Oberoi group used to operate and manage the hotel till some years ago.
The move has sent jitters amongst business executives travelling to Nepal. "So far, we all thought that five star hotels were fine with the Maoist attacks restricted to the terai areas. The attack shows that even five star hotels are unsafe," a high ranking executive of a company which has interests in Nepal told Business Standard.
Meanwhile, Indian Airlines on Tuiesday said that the airline will take stock of the situation on Wednesday. Indian Airlines operates two flights -- Delhi-Katmandu-Delhi and Varansi-Kathmandu-Varanasi -- daily to Nepal.
It was pointed out by senior airline officials that if the situation worsens it will have to take a re-look at its operations there.
"This will discourage many new entreprenuers particularly in the textile and electronics goods industry who have been eyeing the country. Nearly 200,000 people will be affected due to loss of jobs," a Confederation of Indian Industries official said.
However, at least one company claimed that its business has not been impacted by the unrest in Nepal. Nepal Lever has had no problems in the country thanks to a large local ownership in the company, sources in HLL said. The company is also listed on the fledgling Nepalese stock exchange.