Kathmandu, November 21
Although Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli recently announced to rid the country of power outage within one year, the statement is in question considering that many under-construction hydropower projects across the country have been affected due to the ‘unofficial blockade’ imposed by India and ongoing agitations in the southern plains.
Besides, construction of some others had already been affected due to the devastating April 25 quake.
Moreover, the problem has been coupled due to the obstructions in the supply of construction materials, following agitations and the blockade. Likewise, some other hydropower projects announced by the government are yet to be implemented due to a lack of effective plans, programmes and investments.
It may be noted four hydropower projects initiated by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) have been badly affected by the quake. Furthermore, the Upper Trisuli 3A Hydropower project, Kulekhani III, Rahughat and Chameliya that were initiated by NEA have been affected due to various reasons.
Similarly, construction of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project by the subsidiary company of NEA, the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower, has been affected due to lack of fuel.
Nevertheless, a section of people argue that the ambitious plan of the government to relieve the country of load shedding within the next 12 months could be materialised had there been some programmes and policies in place.
CPN-UML leader and former finance minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari said that the country would become free of load shedding if the government goes ahead with necessary programmes, policies and plans in hand after declaring the energy sector is in a state of crisis.
Reminding that he forwarded necessary programmes and policies with a deadline while declaring energy crisis in the country in 2008, Adhikari suggested the government to follow policy and programmes he had forwarded.
He said that the government’s plan could be materialised once a high-level commission is formed with a deadline to foil works of hydro mafia, formulate rules and laws and make NEA effective. Adhikari said that the government could facilitate the process to encourage foreign and domestic investments in hydropower.
Besides, he added local VDCs, DDCs, community schools and cooperatives could be encouraged to initiate hydropower projects by giving them subsidy.
Similarly, Shailendra Guragain, vice chairman of the Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal said the country could be rid of power cuts in one year had there been effective plans in place.
Saying that the documents related to energy crisis forwarded by former finance minister Adhikari was effective, he said that the country will witness a sea change in terms of energy if hydropower projects under construction and in the pipeline for construction are completed.
A version of this article appears in print on November 22, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.