Lack of power puts investors in dilemmaThe government’s failure to ensure adequate electricity supply to the country’s maiden Special Economic Zone (Sez) in Bhairahawa has put prospective investors in a dilemma.
The government’s failure to ensure adequate electricity supply to the country’s maiden Special Economic Zone (Sez) in Bhairahawa has put prospective investors in a dilemma.
“There isn’t enough power supply, and the government has not been able to make any commitment,” Rajesh Agrawal of Siddhartha Group said.
Last year, the group had agreed to open three industries in the Sez.
“I may not open any industry if the situation prolongs for one more year,” he said, adding lack of enough power supply will impact production, and investors cannot afford that.
“If we fail to deliver goods as per the market demand, it will give an edge to competitors.”
Apart from electricity, the Sez has all other facilities. On being asked about the situation, Sez officials always have same answer: “We are in final stage of preparation.”
Currently, Bhairahawa Sez has 22 industries.
According to Shundar Thapa, under secretary at Bhairahawa Sez, they have initiated steps to provide electricity.
The Sez has a 500kV three-phase line. A substation at Dhakdahi is under construction. Once completed, the Sez will have an additional supply of 25MW electricity.
Thapa said the electricity will be supplied from Butwal via Dhakdahi substation.
“All investors planning to open industries in the Sez have a common question—regarding electricity supply,” Thapa said.
“Due to lack of coordination between line ministries, we have been facing difficulties in providing facilities to industries.”
The government’s reluctance to make the Sez functional is worrying, according to Mahesh Kumar Shrestha, former president of Siddhartha Chamber of Commerce.
“Private sector investment will be at risk if the Sez does not come into operation in full capacity within the next two years,” he said.