Election hopefuls in Kaski have been firing up voters with promises of making the district rich by developing hydropower projects. All election candidates have been talking about developing Kaski as a hydropower hub in their campaign speeches.
The development of hydroelectric projects is a common agenda in the election manifestos of all political parties. The second phase of federal parliamentary and provincial assembly elections are scheduled to be held on December 7. Pokhara is the administrative headquarters of the district which lies in western Nepal.
There are a number of rivers in Kaski like the Seti, Madi, Modi, Mardi, Irdhi and Patle with high hydropower potential. Currently, the district produces 55 MW of electricity from eight micro and small hydropower projects. Several plants are in the pipeline.
Candidates have been trying to drum up support by pledging to complete all pending projects and free Kaski from load-shedding. Their agenda includes making Kaski a prosperous district with royalties from hydropower projects if they win the election.
“As Kaski has huge hydropower potential, all parties have inserted this agenda in their manifestos,” said UML leader Rabindra Adhikari, who is contesting for a seat in the House of Representatives from Kaski Constituency 2. He added that the capacity of ongoing projects could be increased to.
A recent study has shown that the waters of Begnas Lake can be utilized to
generate electricity. This proposal too has been incorporated in their election campaign agenda.
Nepali Congress leader and Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Yagya Bahadur Thapa, who is contesting for a seat in the House of Representatives from Kaski Constituency 1, said that the Madi River had huge hydropower potential. He has accorded top priority to the plan in his election agenda.
“We can generate 800 MW of electricity from the Madi River,” he said, adding that he would work to develop the project if he won the election. Besides hydropower projects, he has been campaigning to develop the Sikles-Sishaghat Madi road corridor.
Likewise, Guru Baral of the Nepali Congress, who is representing the party in Constituency 2 (A), said that Province 4 was gifted with hydro potential and it could be developed as a hydropower hub. “Kaski can be developed as hydropower hub besides being a tourism and education destination.”
Rajiv Pahari from Constituency 3 (B), representing the left alliance, promised to make Kaski prosperous by constructing hydropower projects. The Upper Madi Project, the biggest hydro plant in Kaski, generates 25 MW of electricity.
Construction of the 13 MW Sikles Hydropower Project was recently completed. Another 15 MW project on the Modi River is in the development phase.
Source : The Kathmandu Post