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Rays of Hope in the Darkness—a good reference of hydropower sector (Book Review)

KATHMANDU: As the country is facing seven hours of power cut even during the rainy season and the government is projecting to have 16-hour long power cut during the winter, a book has tried to analyze the opportunities and challenges of this sector. The book entitled ‘Rays of Hope in the Darkness’ written by Pratibedan Baidya, who has penned down books on different issues, and researcher Prativa Subedi not only analyzed the problems of this sector but also recommended on how the problem could be resolved. The book also highlights the contributions made by Independent Power Producers for the development of power sector in the country despite very fragile situation.

“This is an attempt to recognize the contribution made by Independent Power Producers and share the challenges faced by them, which could be an eye-opener to the government and other stakeholders involved in this sector. There are many other power producers, who are doing good and contributing a lot to overcome the shortage of power but it is not possible to incorporate all of them in a book, so, we selected some representatives to reflect contribution made by independent power producers,” the authors add.

The book is divided into three parts. In the first part, Mr Baidya presented the background of the hydropower sector. He has also presented how the hydropower sector has been contributing for the National Economy and policy issues related with this sector. Mr. Baidya, who has spent nearly five years in mainstream journalism, has clearly outlines the problems and opportunities of this sector. He has questioned the government whether it wants to be a supporter for the development of the power sector of the country or wants to remain as a active player as state-run corporation Nepal Electricity Authority has the monopoly over the purchase of electricity from producers and sale it to the customers. Mr Baidya outlined that failure at the part of the government to expand transmission line is a major bottleneck for the development of power sector.

Similarly, Mr. Diwakar Pant, a journalist covering water resource related beat in one of the leading TV stations of Nepal Kantipur Television, has presented the opportunities and challenges of hydropower sector. According to Mr. Pant despite huge potential for the development of hydropower sector of the country, some of the challenges faced by this sector are political instability; obstacles created by different fraternal organizations of political parties demanding fulfillment of unnatural demands; lack of security situation; obstruction created by locals; lack of systematic expansion of transmission line among others. He has also elaborated about the situation of national policies and how these policies have been affecting for the development of this sector. He also mentioned about the efforts from various government institutions for the development of power sector of the country.

In the second section, the book presented detailed information about selected Independent Power Producers, who has been active in this sector despite not favorable working condition. The book selected some of the power producers and presented the challenges faced by them, why they were engaged in this sector and how do they see the future of hydropower sector in the coming days. These articles also presented their views on whether they want to continue in this sector in the future as well or want to divert from the sector. Some of the persons and companies featured in this section are Mr. Shailendra Guragain of Barun hydropower project, Mr. Hari Bairagi of Arun valley hydropower project, Mr. Gyanendra Lal Pradhan of Hydro Solutions Private Limited, Mr. Manoj Goyel of Clean Energy Development Bank, Dr. Subarna Das Shrestha of Sanima Hydropower Limited, Mr. Sujit Acharya of IDS Energy Private Limited, Mr Bishownath Kandel of Aankhu Hydropower Project, Mr. Khadga Bisht of Himal Power Company and Butwal Power Company.

It is really interesting to read that some of the power producers came to the sector by their choice but some of them joined this sector by some sort of compulsion and could not get out of it. They have unique experiences and feelings of this sector despite working in the same field. For example, Mr. Guragain got engaged in this sector after he returned back from Moscow of Russia after completing his study as he wanted to set the trend that youths like him have to take initiative for the development of the country. He is still hopeful that the situation might improve one day and there will be favorable environment for the investors like him. However, politician turned power Producer Mr. Bairagi turned as a power producer after people of his constituencies took him into control and forced him to promise for providing electricity available to them. As a politician he could not escape his promise and NEA and other power producers did not show interest to do it in his area, so, he himself turned as a power producer. Other power producers also have unique experience of being to this sector.

By presenting the feelings of different power producers the book has been trying to answer some of the misconception that hydropower developers are cheating people and making huge amount of money by exploiting natural resources. It is an eye-opener to the people who did not have much knowledge about this sector.

In the third section of the book, the writers have presented interviews of Government representative and journalists, who have devoted more than a decade covering the hydropower sector. In his interview Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Energy Sunil Malla acknowledges that the private sector is doing quiet well despite unfavorable working environment of the country. Similarly Malla adds, ” To attract private sectors, tariff setting mechanism should be maintained fairly and effectively. We need both storage and run-of-river projects. The government should focus more on the storage type of projects and let the private sector concentrate on the run-of-river type of projects.”

Journalist Mr. Netra Karki, who has been hosting a popular TV program related with hydropower sector and Mr. Bikash Thapa, who spent in the hydropower beat in the mainstream media for over a decade have given insight about the hydropower sector. They have presented opportunities and challenges of this sector along with some of the short-comings of Independent Power Producers. According to Journalist Thapa, Corrupt leaders are stumbling block of hydropower development. Poverty is also the challenge of this sector. The local people, in where the site is located are very poor and the state has failed to deliver even minimum human requirement to them, so, they start making heavy demands when a project is proposed near the area and creates obstacle for construction if their demands are not met. However Karki seems very optimistic about the hydropower sector of the country. He says, “If we see the current situation it is not pessimistic. Many good projects are in the process of construction and foreign investors ha
ve shown interest in construction of nearly 5,000 MW projects.”

Oracle International Private Limited, a company run by media professionals of the country, has published the book, which highlights both positive and negative aspects of hydropower sector. The book could be a good reference for all the people, who want to conduct research in the hydropower sector. Rather than presenting any opinion the writers have been trying to present some of the hidden facts of this sector, which is worth reading for researchers, academicians and general people apart from people involved in this sector. It is a good reference to the people, who want to pursue their carrier in this sector. The book, which was priced NPR 500 for the Print Edition can be accessed by visiting

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For Indian tourists travelling by land:- 72 hours (-ve) C-19 report, CCMC form and Antigen Test at entry point

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