Khalanga, March 15
Until a few years ago, 72 per cent of the people of Karnali did not have access to electricity. The situation has slightly improved with the building of some micro-hydropower and solar energy projects with the formation of provincial and local level governments. But still, 67 per cent of Karnali folks have no access to electricity.
Karnali is home to 1.75 million population.
Five out of 10 districts in Karnali have been connected to the national grid. These districts are Surkhet, Dailekh, Salyan, Jajarkot, and Rukum West. Jumla, Kalikot, Mugu, Humla and Dolpa are yet to be connected with the national grid.
Jumla civil society chair Raj Bahadur Mahat says they have lost their hope to have access to the national grid. Despite abundant sources of hydropower production, a large section of the Karnali folks is forced to live in dark.
As Mahat complains, the federal government was untouched by the pains and hardships of the people of upper Karnali.
Jumla witnesses a power outage of over 15 hours a day. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Jumla chief Gaurab Pandey says power production has gone down and this is also the reason behind the increased load-shedding hours in the district.
”The current power generation is not sufficient to meet the demand and we have tried to continue power supply with the use of a generator.”
As he says, poles have been already installed for the extension of the national grid in the district and it would happen soon if efforts were made from the political level.