CHITWAN, July 16: Madi Municipality in Chitwan, the only place in the country with underground electricity lines, has been facing electricity cut offs for the last two weeks.
The electricity lines pass through the Chitwan National Park. A technical problem at the underground cable inside the national park is the cause of the electricity problem, according to Suresh Kumar Mahato, chief of Bharatpur Distribution Center of Nepal Electricity Authority.
“The electricity cable catches fire frequently, and we are being unable to find out a lasting solution for this,” Mahato said. “Locals at Madi have to often face electricity outage during the monsoon season.”
Thakur Prasad Dhakal, mayor of Madi Municipality, said that it was difficult to find out a durable solution for the electricity problem inside the national park. “Maintenance alone cannot be a long term solution,” Dhakal said. “Underground cable seems not fitting in here.”
Even in the previous year, they had faced power cut for almost 20 days. The municipality had sent a letter to the NEA office to change the cable line. Currently, the NEA is under process of opening bid for the purpose.
As per records at the NEA office in Bharatpur, work for the underground electricity line was started in Fiscal Year 1998/99. Even after 17 years of building the electricity lines, half of the households in the municipality do not have electricity access. Currently, there are around 5,000 households in the area.
This year, the NEA and the municipality are planning to install 880 new electricity poles. According to Mahato, it will take at least two more years to distribute electricity to all households in the municipality. He said the current silver wires will be replaced by copper wires.
The municipality is also installing 12 transmitters as well. It is not possible to supply high-voltage electricity in the lines passing through the national park area considering safety of wildlife and environment.
“Currently electricity is supplied only through single-phase wires. But now, considering the increasing power load, we have no other option than to go for double-phase wires,” Mahato added.