Manang still awaits illumination under 'Bright Gandaki' scheme


By Nabin LamichhaneManang, May 28: Mountainous district Manang has not been yet connected to the national grid.     

The district which is solely dependent on micro hydroelectricity projects for electricity now faces a power crisis. Floods have damaged the structures of 13 micro hydropower projects based in the trans-Himalyan district. The damaged structures are yet to be restored and it is indeed concerning for the locals who are living in darkness for so long.     

It is said materials meant for repairing the damaged projects are put on the streets haphazardly.     

Local social worker Chekman Gurung said they are waiting the moment to see their localities illuminated, but are not sure when it will happen. Only a few micro hydropower projects are in operation providing electricity to some settlements.     

The Sodikhola Hydropower Project based at Naso rural municipality-8 damaged by the floods remains unrepaired despite the continuous pressure on the part of people's representatives and intellectuals, according to rural municipality chair Dhan Bahadur Gurung.     

"It would be easy if the damaged portions of this project were reconstructed and repaired, but works have not been carried out despite prodding for the same frequency," he said. Some of the damaged micro-hydel projects have been repaired with the voluntary labour contribution by locals and they have started operation.     

However, several micro-hydel projects have neither been unable to bring the equipment nor the workers able to start work.     

The locals' reading is that the delay is because of the problems to do with the timely transportation of equipment due to the rugged terrain and remoteness of the place.     

Manang was first connected to the national grid in 2077 BS. Less than a year after this, the district was hit by massive floods and landslides, which caused widespread damage to most of the micro-hydroelectricity projects and cut it off from the central grid.     

Ever since the people in this mountainous district are living in darkness.     

The people of the district were elated after the Gandaki Province Government headed by Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung introduced a special programme of 'Bright Gandaki' with the plan of carrying out massive electrification in the province.     

But their enthusiasm has been dampened due to the delay in repairing and maintaining the damaged power infrastructure in the district.     

Some of the tourism and hotel entrepreneurs of Manang have been operating hydroelectricity plants with their personal investment after the government's delay in restoring the broken power supply, said Bhujung Gurung, a tourism entrepreneur of Manang Nisyang rural municipality-8. He is also the ward chairperson of Manang Nisyang rural municipality-8.     

Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said works are ongoing for installing electric poles and cables up to Tilicho Lake. It is however not known how long this initiative of illuminating Manang up to Tilicho Lake will take. (RSS)

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