Dagtundanda village lights up
March 2009; Until recently the 765 households of Dagtundanda village, Baglung have relied on batteries, candles and smoky lanterns to light their homes and on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods.
The installation of a micro-hydro plant has transformed their lives as they have clean electric lights in their houses and a host of new opportunities for earning money. Most of the 4,200 villagers are Magars (ethnic community).
The Giringdi river micro-hydro project has been producing 75 kilowatts of electricity for Dagtundanda village since September 2007. The plant was installed at a cost of NR 19 million ($250,000) of which NR 6 million was provided by Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP). The remaining costs were met from a NR 1.3 million bank loan, NR 2.1 million of grants from the district development committee and the village development committee, and NR 2.2 million from the community. The local people also contributed NR 6.9 million worth of labour and materials.
This new source of power means that the villagers can now run agro-processing machinery and an x-ray machine. A few enterprising locals have started a carpentry and a metal-working shop and a photo studio. The women are also thinking about starting up a bakery and constructing a community hall where they can see movies. Others are thinking of buying a juice extractor, a ginger processor, a chilling machine and a stone crusher to tap into the new power source. The project has also encouraged this community to build water tanks, an irrigation canal, toilets and other community development works.
The new micro-hydro plant is saving the locals money as they no longer need to buy the three litres of kerosene a month they used to fuel lanterns nor the batteries to power small lamps. The scheme is producing a host of economical and environmental benefits for this remote community.
Started in 1996, currently REDP is implemented in 40 districts by the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) of the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology. The project is funded by UNDP (US$ 1.9m) with Government co-funding of US$ 3.8 million in 2007 through the World Bank.