Minister of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal has directed the top leadership of the Nepal Electricity Authority to collect the long-pending electricity tariff for the use of dedicated feeders.

Over Rs 15 billion is yet to be collected from industrialists for the use of dedicated feeders in the past when the country was reeling under long hours of load-shedding.

At a programme organised at NEA office here on Sunday, Minister Bhusal demanded clear explanation as to why the responsible employees of NEA could not claim the dues for dedicated feeders and trunk line and why the electricity tariff collection process could not make any progress.

The government has already decided to entrust Nepal Electricity Authority to collect electricity tariff for dedicated feeders and trunk line despite courting objections from several quarters.

A total of 309 industrialists and entrepreneurs had availed the supply of electricity through dedicated feeder and trunk line during the height of power outage in the country during the period of 2014 to 2018.

The ministry had already assigned the NEA to form a research committee to study electricity tariff issues and collect all the dues.

However, the industrialists have been refusing to clear the dues. Despite the fact that the high court order in the country has already paved the path for the NEA to collect the tariff, they have been arguing why they should pay for the tariff when they have not used the electricity at all.

Minister Bhusal asked, "Why could not we collect electricity tariff? Who is responsible for this?"

Bhusal urged the NEA to analyse the data of all the employees stationed in the industrial corridor from 2015 and find out why electricity tariff could not be collected.

She also sought work details of the employees in the industrial corridor working from 2015 till date and asked to take further course of action accordingly.

The minister further questioned, "How many times did we facilitate collection of electricity tariff? How many times did we hold discussions with the concerned industrialists?"

Pressing for the need to collect tariff at any cost, she directed all the staffers at the NEA to discharge their duties as per rules and regulations.

Arguing that industrialists were the supporters of the state, Bhusal urged the NEA to take industrialists into confidence to collect the tariff.

The NEA has already requested industrialists to clear their dues on instalment basis, if not at one go. Industrialists from Butwal and Bhairahawa have announced that they will not be able to pay the tariff at all.

The dispute had reached the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Electricity Regulations Commission and Council of Ministers too. No agency has taken a clear decision regarding the matter so far.

These agencies have passed on the matter to the NEA and asked it to do the needful to resolve the issue.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.