KATHMANDU: Spoon feeding staff to help them out discourages their creative and critical faculties, opines Sashi Sagar Rajbhandari, chief executive officer of Upper Solu Hydro Electric Company Pvt Ltd (USHEC). Having worked at Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) at various positions for over three decades Rajbhandari joined USHEC (23.5 MW), an undertaking of ICTC Group of companies in 2011. He over-sees 16 permanent staff at USHEC and his duties involve handling many technical aspects of the hydro project besides managerial and administrative work.
Rajbhandari earned his degree in civil engineering from a university in the former USSR in 1979. Shortly after his return from USSR, Kulekhani-I hydro project which was under construction hired him.
After working for Kulekhani II, a German consultancy constructing Marsyangdi Hydro Project (MHP) hired him as a technician for tunnel work. In those days foreign consultants in the hydro electricity sector would not trust Nepali engineers. “A German consultancy hired me after learning that I had graduated from a foreign university. In fact, my joining the project opened the door for many Nepali technicians in the hydro sector,” he remissions. After its completion he worked in the operation and maintenance of MHP for some three years. In 1993 NEA assigned him as Chief of Operation and Maintenance of Trishuli Hydro Power Station. He was also involved in the feasibility study of many hydro projects besides working at the Power Trade Department, and Soil, Rock and Concrete Laboratory as its head during his tenure at NEA.
He fondly recalls happy moments at NEA as director of the Operation and Maintenance Department overseeing some 17 hydro projects. “The position enabled me to actively monitor hydro projects and see to it that they functioned efficiently,” he says.
The duties and responsibility of a CEO even in a hydro company are similar to any other company. However at USHEC besides the managerial part he also performs major technical work dealing with consultancies working for his project. He does not face problems in day to day operations of USHEC. But smooth functioning is affected largely because getting work done from government bodies is a major hindrance. “We are all set to go into construction but are unable because we are yet to get necessary approvals from the government including Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Frequenting government offices is a real nuisance,” he laments.
He motivates his staff by being an example himself. “If you are a good leader the rest follow you,” he says adding that — simple living and high thinking, hard work and punctuality – are basic principals shaping his life as of today. He inherited those qualities while working with Japanese consultants at the Kulekhani hydro project.
“I explain to my staff how to get work done and expect them to figure out ways for themselves. However, if they face any problem, I am ready to assist them at any time,” says a wise Rajbhandari.
Whenever some staffs make mistakes, he explains them on how to avoid those. “But, if the same mistake repeats more than three times I have to act strict but do not stop mentoring them until they overcome that weakness,” he says.
The company is also working to develop another small power company nearby USHEC construction site with a potential of around 2.8 MW (Sisa Khola Hydro Electricity Project). “We intend to complete the smaller project first. Electricity generated from the smaller project would rid us from having to depend on the expensive diesel fuel for the last phase construction works of USHEC.” If approved from the government the smaller project can be completed within two years, according to Rajbhandari.
USHEC at a glance
Upper Solu Hydro Electric Company Pvt Ltd is a run-of-river (RoR) project located in Solukhumbu district of Sagarmatha Zone in eastern Nepal. Its licence was awarded by the Nepal government through a competitive bidding process aimed at encouraging the private sector to contribute towards eradicating the energy crisis in the country. Its mother company is ICTC Group. Developers were selected based on their financial capabilities, execution plans and their commitment towards attaining the license and completing the project, which ultimately had to reflect in their financial bid for the licence. The project is expected to be commissioned towards the end of 2017.
Rajbhandari’s managerial tips
• Be an example to the staffs.
• Do not spoon feed and encourage them to be creative.
• Give chance for self-correction.
• Apply stringent measures to prevent repeated mistakes.
Source : The Himalayan Times / Perceptive