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Wednesday, Feb 02, 2005

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Nepal emergency: Indian cos to wait and watch

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 1

INDIAN companies that have invested in Nepal appear to have adopted a wait-and-watch policy after King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency earlier on Tuesday, after suspending the elected Government.

Indian carriers including Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Sahara Airlines had to cancel flights to Kathmandu since all links, including air links, with Nepal have been suspended.

India is one of the largest contributors to the Nepal tourism industry, accounting for about 30 per cent of the total tourist arrivals by air in 2004 at 86,328.

Also, companies including Coca-Cola India, Dabur India Ltd, ITC Ltd and Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) have manufacturing operations in Nepal.

While the CEO of Dabur Foods Ltd, Mr Amit Burman, said it was too early to gauge the impact of this political development on the company's operations in Nepal, a Coca-Cola India spokesperson said the company was in touch with its partners there.

An ITC spokesperson said he was not yet aware of the details of the situation in Nepal and hence could not comment.

Reacting to the suspension of air links between India and Nepal, the Assocham President, Mr M.K. Sanghi, said that the Governments of both the countries should strive to re-establish them. "Also, in such a situation, steps should be taken to maintain the security of the Indian people and companies operating in Nepal."

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