By Prajwal Shrestha
Just recently, an assembly on power was held in Kathmandu with the slogan “ten thousand MW electricity in 10 years”. Similar seminar with the same slogan was held earlier also but there was no progress at all. The slogan was given by considering construction of the mega hydropower projects by the Indians. The psychology among the Nepali political leaders and the policymakers is that India will come to invest/construct our electricity and we will become rich by exporting electricity to India. There is another psychology that Nepal is a small country and we cannot consume all the electricity produced in the country. Unfortunate to state that although having huge potentiality of generating hydropower within the country, we are importing more and more electricity from India. Of course, we commend the job of Energy Minister Janardan Sharma Pravakar and NEA MD Kulman Ghishing, who have been able to virtually end load-shedding from the country. By managing the electricity supply, the concerned authority has been able to end load-shedding. The present effort has proved that the previous officers and leaderships were making personal money by creating artificial load-shedding for upto 12 hours. The leakage rate of NEA is also very high. If the NEA will be able to reduce the leakage rate, NEA will be able to make profit. These efforts alone are not sufficient to end load-shedding permanently. The government is planning to import above 600 MW hydropower from India to meet the electricity need of the country. Currently, the country is importing about 300 MW electricity from India. And now the government is planning to import electricity from India to meet the demand of Kathmandu Valley. Such import from India will put Indian in the upper hand in Nepal — which has already expanded the Indian interference at the micro-management level.It is very odd that due to non-visionary leaderships having corrupt mentality, the country had failed to construct hydropower projects as per the country’s demand. We are dreaming for exporting electricity, on the other hand, every year, we are increasing the quantity of electricity importing from India. What this scribe believes is that first of all, our policy makers should forget that there is the market of electricity abroad, rather, we have to develop market within the country. We should, without delay, by using local resources, construct small and middle-sized hydropower projects including some mega projects. The government should develop attractive scheme to attract local investors in hydropower projects. If we will be able to produce electricity at low price, automatically, the electricity tariff will also be cheaper and the consumers will use electricity by avoiding other source of energy. People will start cooking food in electricity rather than using LP gas; industries will start using electricity instead of running diesel plants. In this way, imports of petro-products will decline, in the meantime, our industrial products will become cheap in the international market, which will increase our exports. If we have enough electricity, we can establish electricity consuming projects, such as, silver factory, fertilizer factory, cable car, railway, e-vehicles, among others. By doing so, we can develop market for the electricity consumption within the country.
In the meantime, considering favourable climate for solar plant, the government should encourage solar plants for producing electricity. It has to develop a mechanism of producing energy from every rooftop in the settlement and buying such energy by the Nepal Electricity Authority. In this way, all the houses can be converted as the electricity producing unit. Also, the government should conduct feasibility study to generate electricity from wind as well. If we use all our resources, we can generate not only ten thousand MW but 20 thousand MW electricity within the next ten years. To conclude, don’t be depended upon foreign country while constructing infrastructural projects. We have to complete such infrastructural projects ourselves to make our economy prosperous.
Think of Nepal first
By Prajwal Shrestha