THT 10 YEARS AGO: Ordinance to split NEA in three

Kathmandu, December 21, 2005

The government is all set to introduce an ordinance to divide the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) into three organised companies within a year from the introduction of the ordinance. A meeting of the council of ministers that took place on November 28 gave a “theoretical consent” to the proposed draft of the Development and Management of Electricity Law, which will replace the Electricity Act 1992. Talking to this correspondent, spokesperson for the Ministry of Water Resources, Upendra Prasad Bhattarai, said, “I hope the new law will come into effect along with regulations in three to four months.” He said the NEA would be divided into three organised institutions looking after generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. NEA, which manages 465 MW of its own energy and 149 MW from independent power producers, was created after merging the Nepal Electricity Corporation (distribution) and the Nepal Electricity Department (generation) into a single entity 20 years ago. The government claims that the new law would make electricity service more simple, accessible, qualitative, efficient and safe. But NEA employees do not agree with the government’s argument that division would resolve the problems facing the electricity sector. Chairman of the NEA Employees’ Association Kumar Prasad Ojha said, “Given the situation, the division of NEA will cause more financial burden to consumers and there is no guarantee that reforms will help develop water resources.” Water resources expert Ajay Dixit, however, disagreed with Ojha and said Nepal had a similar system before 1985.

Chihandanda still in shock week after carnage

Nagarkot, December 21, 2005

A week has passed since the brutal killing of 12 innocent villagers on the premises of Kalidevi temple at Chihandanda in Nagarkot, but the temple still bears a desolate look, with no one bothering to tidy up the place. Puja material left behind still litters the place amid blood marks. The temple, a playground for the students of a local school until last week, bears a deserted look. No one now climbs up the small hill to offer prayers. It is the journalists, human rights activists and members of the probe panels who are visiting the place for obvious reasons. “Locals used to flock the temple daily. But no more. The carnage has scar ed them away,” said Raj Kumar Shrestha, a local. Though eight student unions today organised a quiet condolence meeting on the premises of the temple, none from the victims’ families was seen. It was for the first time when such a large number of villagers gathered here since the dreadful night when Basudev Thapa, an army soldier, had allegedly sprayed bullets on 12 unsuspecting folks before committing suicide.