Power cut to stay for 3 yrs: Minister

BIRGUNJ: Minister for Energy Prakash Sharan Mahat said today that the country would face power-cuts for at least three more years.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Nepal Press Union Parsa, he said, "The dark hours will stay here as high capacity transmission line for electricity from India to Nepal won't be in place before three years."

According to him, the public was reeling under regular power-cuts as the internal production was not sufficient to meet the energy demands. The minister, however, informed that plans were afoot to repair the thermal plants in Hetauda and Biratnagar. "That could be some sort of a breather for the country," he said.

He also made revelations that the government had a policy to encourage investors in hydro projects. "The government has prioritised the Upper-Seti Hydro Electricity Project in Tanahun while preparations were on for the construction of Upper-Tamakoshi as well," he said. The minister also informed that more than a billion rupees has been allocated for rural electrification in this fiscal budget.

He, however, said that the budget deficit of the Nepal Electricity Authority had reached Rs 14 billion. Saying that the electricity in the country was being sold at a price lower than the production cost, Mahat hinted at a possible hike in the electricity tariff.