Hundreds of homes in Bajhang have been lit up after the remote and developmentally challenged district was connected to the national grid on Tuesday. It took almost 11 years to complete the 85 km 33kv transmission line project from Khodpe of Baitadi to Bajhang.
Locals are elated as their homes have been lit up with uninterrupted power supply on the eve of Laxmi puja, the festival of lights. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) announced that Bajhang has been connected with the national grid at 11am, on Tuesday.
Although the NEA had planned to supply electricity on September 26, technical problems delayed the plan.
“We are happy to light up Bajhang on the occasion of Tihar,” said Rakesh Bhatta, chief of distribution centre at the NEA branch in Bajhang. He said that the office has also managed adequate manpower and equipment to sort out any technical problems. “People in Bajhang have now been relieved from electricity scarcity.” Lawmaker Bhairav Bahadur Singh said that the electricity supply has opened up doors for economic development in the district. “It is a matter of happiness for all the people here who have been facing hardship,” he said, adding that the supply of electricity in the district would encourage trade and investment in the district as well.
People in Bajhang were mostly dependent on firewood for energy. “This dependency will decrease and will contribute to forest conservation,” said Singh. The electricity supply has made local businessmen and traders cheerful as well. “Investors were reluctant to open industries due to the lack of electricity. Now, the longstanding grievances of investors have been addressed,” said Narendra Khadka, a local youth entrepreneur. Although, small and micro hydropower projects had been supplying electricity in Bajhang, they were not reliable due to frequent damages and technical problems.
As a result, people were facing hardship.
Nepal and Bhutan appear well on track towards achieving universal access to electricity by 2030, according to a report on transformational energy access of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which has reviewed 47 LDCs.
The ‘Least Developed Countries Report 2017: Transformational Energy Access’, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, showed 84.9 percent of population in Nepal has access to electricity. According to the report, Nepal’s access to electricity in the urban areas has reached 97.7 percent of the total population in 2014, up from 94 percent of population in 2010. Likewise, in rural areas, access to electricity reached 81.7 percent of the population in 2014 from 62.1 percent in 2010. The report said Nepal is close to achieving access to electricity above the other developing countries (ODCs) averaging 90 percent.
Source :The Kathmandu Post