Power cut does not affect us, we always have electricity
February 2009; About two and a half hours drive away from Kathmandu is a peaceful village Pinthali (Mangaltar Village Development Committee) in Kavre district. All the residents are Tamangs (indigenous peoples) in this village. Here are the excerpts of interview with Karma Dhoj Lama, the beneficiary and former Chairperson of the Community Organisation established by the community through the support of UNDP Rural Energy Development Programme in 1997;
Q. How long has it been since electricity came to your village'
K : It has been 12 years since we got electricity with the support of the micro-hydro programme.
Q. Have you faced any difficulty in maintaining and sustaining this micro-hydro project '
K : In the past 12 years, we rarely have had to live in dark. Sometimes, when the turbine needs to be repaired we cut the power supply for the required period of time and at times when we need to repair the irrigation system. We now have bio-gas system for cooking purpose that provides us with a better kitchen environment.
Q: How much do you charge for lighting to each household '
K : Rs. 10 per bulb per month. This is a subsidized tariff, however we collect more tariff by running different other enterprises.
Q: How do you make use of the tariff '
K : From the tariff, we collect around Rs. 5,000 to 6,000 per month from the houses. The Functional Group of micro-hydro receives money from the various end-users such as the owners of flour mill and oil expeller. From the savings and tariff collected we have fund equivalent to Rs. 15,00,000 in our Community Energy Fund (CEF), which we can use if the
turbine breaks down. So we are well prepared! We started our CEF with Rs. 2,00,000 but now we are making more profit and can sustain the night. We can do additional income generating works and are better informed as we have television in our houses. Our children can use computers now.
Q: What has changed after the electrification of the village '
K :Now, we constantly think about improving our livelihood. Our children are enjoying the facility of electricity to study till late hours at night. We can do additional income generating works and are better informed as we have television in our houses. Our children can use computers now.
Q: How do you think you can support this programme in the coming days'
K : I have learnt a great deal from this programme. I will work for my community to make this place better to live in the coming days. I wish for more projects like this which can utilize our own natural resources to give electricity to other dark villages of Nepal.