40 per cent forest ranger posts to get solar-powered lights

Kathmandu, February 18

The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation has decided to install solar lights in more than 40 per cent ranger posts that do not have electricity.

After a consultation with Alternative Energy Promotional Centre, the ministry had passed this decision a few days ago. Preparation for this is under way through the Department of Forest.

According to the department, after the nod from the ministry, the process of signing a Memorandum of Understanding is under way between the department and AEPC. “We intend to sign the MoU with AEPC at the earliest,” Krishna Prasad Acharya, director general at the department said, adding, “No ranger posts will remain in dark during the night.”

According to the department, there are over 696 ranger posts throughout the country under the forest ministry. More than 40 per cent of these ranger posts reportedly don’t have electricity or any durable light source.

Spokesperson for the department Chandra Man Dangol said they were yet to determine the exact number of solar panels needed. “We have only received the decision from the ministry, so we are yet to prepare a detailed report that would tell us how many ranger posts will require solar panels,” he told The Himalayan Times.

Following the government’s decentralisation policy, the DoF’s organisational structure was reformed in 1983 with the creation of regional directorates and 75 district forest offices. The regional directorates were headed by regional directors, and the DFOs were headed by district forest controllers.

In 1993, more changes were made in the organisational structure of the department. Currently, the DoF has 74 district forest offices, 92 sector forest offices, and 698 ilaka forest offices.

Alternative Energy Promotion Centre is a government institution established on November 3, 1996 under then Ministry of Science and Technology with the objective of developing and promoting renewable/alternative energy technologies in Nepal. It functions independently and has an eleven-member board with representatives from the government sector, the industry sector and non-governmental organisations.

AEPC said after consultation with the Department of Forest, it would fix the types of solar energy systems that needed to be installed.