SURKHET, March 15: Until a few years ago, 72 percent of the people of Karnali did not have access to electricity. The situation has slightly improved with the building of some small micro hydropower and solar energy projects with the formation of provincial and local level governments. Yet, 67 percent Karnali folks have no access to electricity.
Five, out of ten districts, in Karnali have been connected to the national grid. These districts are Surkhet, Dailekh, Salyan, Jajarkot, and Rukum (West).
It means Jumla, Kalikot, Mugu, Humla and Dolpa are yet to be connected with the national grid. Jumla civil society chair Raj Bahadur Mahat said they have lost hope to have access to the national grid.
Despite abundant sources for hydropower production, a large section of the Karnali folks are forced to live in the dark. Federal government has been untouched by the pains and hardships of the people of upper Karnali, Mahat complained.
Jumla witnesses power outages of over 15 hours a day. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Jumla chief Gaurab Pandey said power production has gone down and this is also the reason behind the increased load-shedding hours in the district. ''The current power generation is not sufficient to meet the demand and we have tried to continue power supply through the use of generators,'' he said.
He informed that poles have already been installed for the extension of the national grid in the district and it would happen soon if efforts were made from the political level.
Karnali is home to 1.75 million population and around 33 percent or just 561 thousand have access to power supplied by the national grid.