Gloomy vista

Even if things go as planned, consumers would have to bear with the load shedding till 2015, and this is a supposedly very optimistic forecast. Planning is one thing but getting them implemented is a difficult proposition. For instance, there were plans to generate as much as 314 MW of electricity by the end of the Tenth Five Year Plan (2008-2013), but only 39 MW has been generated in the last two years. Clearly, this is lackluster performance directed at people’s welfare. It is worth noting that electricity demand increases by as much as 10 per cent every year, yet new hydel plants have not been able to come up as envisaged. While they were in power, the Maoists had talked about producing 10,000 MW of electricity in a span of 10 years, but it all came to nothing better than nought. Now, their ire is bent on the Upper Karnali hydro project. This reflects the pitiable state where the immense hydro power resources the country possesses remain untapped. Despite realizing that the utilization of water resources is a way out to bring the development plans to fruition and ameliorate the standard of living of the people, little progress has been made by the way of harnessing the hydro electricity potential. Particularly, the big hydro projects are often marred in controversies between the stakeholders. That all reportedly points to the kickbacks and commissions gone wrong.

No doubt, the foreign investments in this sector would be forthcoming in lucrative deals, but the politics of the country is such that the foreign investors are scared away. The potential foreign investors in the hydro sector need to be assured about the safe returns from their investment. Since the nation is unable to carry out big hydro power projects on its own, it has to rely on foreign collaboration. There are many foreign governments and investors more than willing to invest in the hydro power sector, but most of them have backed away. Also to blame are government authorities who pose obstacles and even harass potential investors by not cooperating with them by such things as delaying the paper work and making unreasonable demands. So as to facilitate foreign investment it is thus essential to create a congenial climate for investment with incentives looking well into the future for the mutual benefits of all the stakeholders.

Meanwhile, considering the increasing demand for electricity it is necessary to add a bare minimum of 80 MW every year to the existing supplies. At present, electricity is being imported from India which is cooperating despite its own growing power needs. Herein, acceleration of hydro power generation in Nepal could lead to surpluses which could be exported to India. Moreover, in this respect, the need for a high capacity Nepal-India transmission line is also felt for electricity trading. It is envisaged that such a line would be constructed by 2012 which would enable the transmission of 1200 MW of electricity between the two countries with the high capacity line of 400 KV. On recapitulating, the hydro power projects in the pipeline ought to be completed expressly, at the same time initiating works on newer ones to meet the ever growing demand for electricity.

Success chart

Rs. 100,000 is what a youth of Hangdeva VDC of Taplejung is earning every month. There’s nothing illegal that he’s pursuing to make the gains. It’s sheer hard work that is related to commercial tomato farming. That growing tomatoes could reap in such benefits might be surprising to most of the people out here who do not think much of agriculture. Most people tend to equate agriculture to subsistence without accruing any surplus.

Despite our country’s hard earned stature as an agriculture based economy, the overall returns have not generated well-to-do farmers in every nook and corner of Nepal. Examples are aplenty of success and prosperity through tending the farm and livestock rearing, but that has not become the rule. When this one young man’s endeavour can impact so much, it needs no reiteration that we can become self-reliant in agro produces if real thrust comes from individuals rather than depending on the high flying government rhetoric of achieving one or the other economic objective in this decade or the next. Power to uplift must come from within the heart, mind and hands of every individual and not from waiting in vain for the election promises to come true—which never have.