Republica The canal of Budathok Small Hydropower Project swept away by landslide of July 15.
Budhathok Small Hydropower Project turning into a white elephant
BAGLUNG, September 3: For the residents of the western part of Baglung, the Budhathok Small Hydropower Project has been turning into a white elephant.
The damage in canals of the project causes losses worth millions every year.
More than 500 households have been forced to live in darkness after the canal of the hydro plant project situated in Dhorpatan Municipality-5 was destroyed.
Narendra Kunwar, chairman of the project said that electricity service has been disrupted as the landslide of July 15 caused by incessant rains damaged a 70-meter-long canal of the hydropower project.
Each year, the project gets affected by flood and landslide in monsoon. The villages are yet to be connected to the central electricity grid, and the locals have to rely from electricity produced from small rivers.
Electricity production from the Budhathok plant had started with an investment of Rs 248 million in 2009 through the locals’ initiation.
The project produced 60 kilowatts of electricity, and 560 households were benefitting from it. The project had to be repaired many times when its canal was affected by Bhujikhola in the past.
“The project had been operated after repairing when flood, landslide and rivers damaged the canal,” Kunwar said.
“Last year it took Rs 1.3 million to repair the canal and the situation has repeated this year too. Repair at the moment is almost impossible because of financial and physical complications. So we are compelled to stay in dark.”
Households of 12 settlements are living in the dark after the canal was swept away by flood.
Kunwar said households from Nathuri, Bhaisikharka, Lamatara, Masti, Tyangkhola, Chaur, Arnakot, Badathok, Pokhara, Naubise, Ghartithok, Badarbot, Myalbot, Achardhara, Bayachaur, Kuhine and Bahungaun settlements who were dependent on electricity from the project have now been living in the dark.
“People are using kerosene lamps after the electricity supply had been cut down,” Kunwar told Republica: “Education of children has been affected as well.”
According to Shivaraj Kadel, a local, essential communication tools and household chores have been affected.
“It’s difficult to conduct everyday activities without electricity,” said Kadel. “The disruption has direct impact on the district as even mills have been shut down.”
Farmers and entrepreneurs are also facing problems because of the electricity disruption due to damage in the project.
Commercial farmers faced huge losses after the electricity supply stopped. Kadel said that the irregularities in temperature led to death of chicken in the farm causing losses to the farmers. People have been deprived of communication in the district as two Ncell towers and one Sky phone tower have been obstructed.
Without mobile service people have been deprived of communication service as well. Secretary of the electricity project, Reshamraj Regmi, said as there is no chance of restoration of the project, people might have to spend Dashain and Tihar in darkness.
“The engineers called for inspection of the project damage said that the project cannot be repaired immediately,” said Regmi:
“They said a huge investment is needed as the canal has to be progressed with long and big embankment.”
He said technicians suggest them with the amount of money invested in the maintenance a new project can be established.
“The maintenance cost can come up to Rs 10 million to Rs 20 million, technicians have been suggesting instead a new project can be established with the amount.”