Helpless MoLD bears load-shedding brunt

LALITPUR: The Ministry of Local Development’s had decided to repair old generator and also buy a new one for supplying electricity during the load-shedding hours about a month ago, but the staffers at the ministry are harried due to power-cut hassles in delivering services still.

However, nearly two dozen ministries inside the Singha Durbar premises in Kathmandu are supplied power all the time, MoLD, located at Pulchowk in Lalitpur has been hit hard by the power outage. The MoLD is directly related to development activities in 75 districts, 3,915 village development committees and 58 municipalities throughout the country.

“We are unable to make a photocopy or print a document in the office,” said Tulsi Nath Gautam, officer, Monitoring and Evaluation Section (MES), MoLD. “Neither there is a power back-up system nor generators are operated,” added Gautam.

There are four divisions and 14 sections in the ministry. The MES looks into 43 different programmes being implemented throughout the country. Some Rs 36 billion has been allocated in the current fiscal budget. Of the total budget, foreign grants account for about Rs 11 billion. “We deal with the direct assistance received from the Embassy of India, Kathmandu,” said Gautam, who works at the Focal Desk of Indian assistance in the ministry. “The Chinese Embassy has also shown interest to assist directly for food programme in the northern districts of the country from this fiscal,” he added.

An agreement was signed between the government of Nepal and India in 2003 that allowed a direct assistance of up to Rs 30 million for a project. In 2008, it was reviewed allowing up to Rs 50 million for a single project. “There are more than 250 such programmes in 68 districts in the current fiscal for the current fiscal,” said Gautam.

The Indian Embassy, according to MoLD, aims at spending up to Rs 46 billion if appropriate projects are proposed. “The embassy prefers projects like roads, drinking water and heath,” said Gautam. “However, the districts demand school and campus buildings,” he said.

Even the Constituent Assembly members throng the ministry for such programmes. “We approve about half dozen programmes every day. However, we are compelled to face hurdles of power-cut,” lamented Gautam.

Meanwhile, Indu Ghimire, joint-spokesperson, MoLD, said that a decision was made to repair the old generator and also purchase a new one in order to solve the problem about a month ago.