Bringing the World Closer: Micro Hydro Operated Cable TV Network
November 2005; It might sound quite astounding, but the community people of a remote village called Dudilabhati are finding themselves very close to the rest of the world through connection of their TVs with the cable network of the disc antenna. This has become possible due to the micro hydro system, which is installed for generating electricity for household lighting and end-use applications. The Dudilabhati village is situated at 30 Km from the nearest motorable road at Baglung Bazar. It takes one day to walk from Baglung to the village.
Mr. Moha Dutta Subedi, an enterprising CO member had conceived the idea of establishing and providing the services of cable network to the TV possessing households when all villagers were discussing and making plan for the installation of a micro hydro plant in the village through the assistance of the REDP supported DDC: REDS Baglung. So he was quick to establish the cable TV network enterprise, once the micro hydro plant started distributing electricity in the village. He made the total investment of NRs. 250,000 of which the NRs. 80,000 was obtained as loan from the MHFG managed Community Energy Fund (CEF) at annual interest rate of 12 percent. Mr. Subedi pays the monthly tariff of NRs. 500 to the MHFG for the supply of electricity to operate the cable network. At present, there are 18 households connected to the cable TV network. He charges NRs. 50 per month from each household for services provided. The cable TV network is operational from 6 PM to 11 PM. The timing will be increased at the later stage.
The VDC was selected for the programme implementation in the very beginning of 1999. The villagers have completed the Gaundi Khola Micro Hydro Demonstration Scheme in 2002, which generates 20 kW of electric power benefiting 231 households. The programme facilitated the CO members to carry out various IG activities for which different training were conducted and the credit linkage facilitated. As the results, majority of the households has engaged in one or the other initiatives that have started to generate additional income. The increases in the income and the exposure to the markets have fascinated the villagers to possess TVs. At present some 50 households in the VDC have TVs and more are in the process to buy TVs in the near future because of the varieties of national and international entertainment serials and news aired from the cable network.
The impact of the cable network has been unbelievable. Among others, the men and women of the village feel themselves no less developed or privileged than the people of the most of the nearby bazaars which are yet to be electrified either through the national grid extension or though the installation of decentralized micro hydro. Because of the visible impact observed in the lives of the people of the Dudhilabhati village, the people of the adjoining villages of the VDC have started the installation of micro hydro systems in their respective communities. As of now, there are five peltric-sets operational in the VDC, which were established through the support of the DDC: REDS, Baglung. These peltric-sets with the cumulative power outputs of 17 kW are benefiting 195 households. Besides, a 20 kW Lower Gaundi Khola MHDS is under implementation through the technical and financial support of REDP, which would benefit additional 220 households in the near future. With these development, it is not far way when all of households in the VDCs will have electricity access from the decentralized micro hydro systems. Then the VDC will have the privilege of becoming the first URJA GAON (Energy Village) of the Baglung district.