Focus on reservoir projects, PTA with India to address energy woes

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    KATHMANDU, June 29: 

    hydro_artThe policies and programs for the fiscal year 2014/15 prioritize development of reservoir-type hydropower projects to get rid of chronic power woes.

    The document states that Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Budhigandaki, Nalsingadh, Andhikhola, Uttarganga and Naumure will be prepared within this fiscal year. It also states that construction of Budhigandaki Hydropower Project will start within this fiscal year after completing the DPR. 

    The government has prioritized hydropower development with the slogan ´Bright Nepal, Prosperous Nepal´ to address energy crisis.

    According to the policy document, the government will initiate study for development of Karnali Chisapani Multipurpose Project, Upper Seti Project and Upper Jhimruk Project in the coming fiscal year. Upper Seti Project, which has now been renamed as Tanahun Hydropower Project, is already being developed in Tanahun district. 

    The government has also said it would start necessary preparation for export of energy. The document states the government will initiate works to sign Power Trade Agreement with India. 

    Khadga Bahadur Bishta, president of Independent Power Producers´ Association, has welcomed the government´s plan of initiating works to sign PTA with India.

    The policy is said to be a key departure for solving energy crisis by selling surplus energy in the summer to India and importing winter energy for the short-term. In the long-term, it aims to earn foreign currency by exporting hydropower. 

    Similarly, the government plans to complete Dhalkebar-Mujaffarpur Cross Border Transmission Line within 2014/15 and initiate construction of two other cross border transmission line projects.

    The policy also says the Electricity Bill and Electricity Regulatory Bill will be presented in the parliament to update outdated laws of the electricity sector. The proposed-law will also unbundle production, transmission and distribution works of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to enhance its efficiency. 

    Similarly, the government has said that it would restructure Water and Energy Commission Secretariat and form Water Resources Commission. Though the policy document does not include details of the proposed commission, officials say it would include experts of water resources sector and would work for integrated development of water resources including electricity and irrigation, among others. 

    AGRICULTURE REVOLUTION DECADE 

    The new policy envisages development and transformation of agriculture sector to make the country self-reliant on food grains by announcing ´Agriculture Revolution Decade.´

    It says agricultural production and productivity would be increased to ensure food and nutrition security of its citizens by promoting collective farming, through cooperatives, and contract farming.

    However, food production cannot be increased by giving emphasis on organic fertilizers alone as mentioned in the policy document, according to Bhola Man Singh Basnet, an agriculture expert. He said focus should be on effective fusion of traditional and modern technology, including the blend of organic and chemical fertilizers, for increasing food production. 

    Nepal faced paddy deficit of 900,000 million tons this year. 

    Basnet said production will fall sharply is chemical fertilizer is not used.

    The policy document also includes number of subsidy and grant programs to attract youth in agriculture sector. The government believes this will not only promote self-employment but also reduce dependency on imports for milk, meat products, fruits, vegetables and high value agricultural products. 

    The policies and programs have also given emphasis on ongoing irrigation projects like Sikta, Rani Jamara Kularai and Babai. The plan is to complete canal and headwork in the coming fiscal year. 

    PRIORITY TO EXPORT-ORIENTED INDUSTREIS 

    The policy document also aims to promote export-oriented industries to minimize trade deficit by brining a new bill for Special Economic Zone. Similarly, preparations of Industrial Enterprise Bill are also at the final state. Likewise, a separate law on foreign policy is in the offing to improve investment environment in the country.

    The government will support farmers producing exportable goods with lab test, quality improvement programs and product certification, among other facilities.

    Source : Republica