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What happened to the “patriotic” Energy Minister?

By Prajwal Shrestha
Nepal is a beautiful country with a huge potential of natural resources. Due to the petty interests of the political leaders and high ranking government officials, the country has been seriously ruined in the economic field.
We have enough water for irrigation and also generation of hydropower, but we have been unable to use the huge stock of water as rivers have flown the water without any use and the countrymen are compelled to experience hours long load-shedding daily.
The political leaders and high ranking government officials are found roaming around the diplomatic missions to get scholarships for their kids, to get free medical service for their health. They are less bothered about the country’s health. Unless, the government will not stop taking such benefits taken by the leaders and bureaucrats from the Embassies, we cannot expect betterment of this country.
According to a recently disclosed report, foreign countries, specially India, are occupying many hydropower projects but they are not constructing these projects. It is because they don’t want to see Nepal as an economically prosperous country. Therefore, this scribe, time and again has been writing that the projects having strategic significance should be constructed by the government itself. Even we saw some officials who were found saying that we cannot construct big projects. In the case of Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track road construction, the previous government had already decided to reward an Indian company along with managing the fund for the construction of the project and also assuring giving compensation to the party if there were losses. When this became the issue of debate, the then secretary who had headed the project, said that Nepal cannot construct such a big project. He didn’t see the other option that Nepal can assign experienced foreign companies to construct those sectors which was beyond our capacity. Surely, the commission agents were active to manipulate the project and reward the project for an Indian company to construct. Now, the government has decided to construct the project by itself. If the very government led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will continue, there are some hopes that this project will be constructed by the government itself. In case, if there will be a change in the government and if there will be an India puppet government, again, the project will go to the Indian hands and that will never be constructed, following the past experiences.
There are some observers who are even saying that we lack necessary funds to construct such big projects. However, this scribe believes that there is no scarcity of funds. When the Khanikhola Hydropower Project issued shares, the company received applications more than 86 times the anticipated applications. The only thing is that the investors should be assured that their investment will not be lost.
Whatsoever described above, the mentality of the political leaders is the same. Just recently, Minister for Energy Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, who was giving the image of a nationalist, is putting pressure on the Nepal Electricity Authority to install 80 MW capacity diesel plant as soon as possible. According to a report that appeared in Annapurna Post, a vernacular daily, Rayamajhi has asked the NEA to make the deal soon. Whereas NEA, due to high operation cost, has kept a diesel plant in Hetauda without operation. Surely, Rayamajhi is running behind a hefty amount of commission, therefore, he is insisting to make a deal to purchase a diesel plant, which will be a burden for the NEA as well as for the country.
Earlier, the Energy Ministry had planned to install solar plant in Parsha district. That plant was going to be installed in cooperation with the Chinese government. The Energy Ministry didn’t show interests in installation of the solar plant as there was no chance of enjoying commission. If such a practice will continue, we cannot experience development of the nation except from dreaming about development!

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