Bajhang villages wait to be connected with electricityElectricity poles were installed two years ago but no further work has been done, villagers say.
Two years ago, the Nepal Electricity Authority Distribution Centre in Bajhang decided to connect 11 out of 12 locals units in the district with the National Transmission Line. Hundreds of utility poles were installed in the villages in the last two years but no further work has been done to supply electricity to the areas.
So far, only the district headquarters, Chainpur, has a regular supply of electricity. Outside Chainpur, bazaar areas depend on small hydro projects and solar energy for their electricity needs but the rural areas remain cut off from all supply of electricity.
“It’s been two years since we were told that we would get electricity in our villages,” said Anil Kami, a local resident of Kailash in Jayaprithvi Municipality Ward No. 1. “Back in February, the distribution centre told us that they would start work on wires but nothing has been done yet.”
The lack of electricity in the villages has hindered development projects, say locals, and has also impacted economic activities. “We were excited about the prospect of development after the installation of electricity poles in our villages. But two years have passed and nothing has been done so far,” said Dal Khadka of Kailash in Jayprithvi Municipality. “Youths in my village had hoped to operate small businesses after the supply of electricity. But the electricity never came and most of them have left for foreign countries in search of jobs.”
Two years ago, a contract was signed to expand the National Transmission Line to 11 local units, except for remote Saipal Rural Municipality.
“Electricity poles were brought to the district over a year ago. Some of them were installed while most lie scattered on the roadsides,” said Mangal Bahadur Khadka, a local resident of Khaptad Chhanna Rural Municipality.
According to the distribution centre, they had invited tenders on various dates to install transformers, fix wires and to extend around one km of the 11KV main transmission line and 1,250 metres of the sub-transmission line in the district.
“We had made contract agreements with 11 companies to install 87 transformers at a total cost of Rs 25 million. So far, 37 have been installed,” said Rakesh Prasad Bhatta, chief at the NEA Bajhang Distribution Centre. He blamed the nationwide lockdown as the cause for delay in works.
According to him, the onset of monsoon after the lockdown also hindered work on the supply lines. “The contractors are ready to resume work now but there's a shortage of materials for the extension of transmission lines,” he said. “The central and regional offices of the NEA are yet to send additional electricity wires, transformers and other materials. The NEA district branch does not have the authority to procure these materials so we have to wait. We expect to receive the materials by mid-December.”