Cabinet okays low loadshedding package; 5-day week is back
RAMESH PRASAD BHUSHAL
KATHMANDU, Oct 3: The cabinet´s Economic and Infrastructure Committee today endorsed a load-shedding minimization package proposal of the Ministry of Energy, which among other things proposes two days of public holiday per week at government offices and authorization of local administrations to impose an emergency if construction work at hydro-power projects is disturbed by locals.
"The package document was endorsed by the committee meeting today,” said Posta Bahadur Bogati, Minister for Tourism, who chaired the meeting.
A few weeks ago, the ministry´s proposal, submitted to the cabinet, was forwarded to the Economic and Infrastructure Committee for further discussions. "It´s a package document wherein various measures will be applied to reduce loadshedding and a two-day weekend is one major point to help reduce the demand for electricity as government offices will shut for one more day,” said Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Keshav Man Shakya, who is also a member of the committee. “Personally, I don´t find it unnecessary as five working days are quite enough if we work seriously, but it depends on our attitude and how effectively we work.”
Minister Shakya claimed that government offices misuse more energy as the employees take it for granted. “So this move would help reduce demand significantly,” he added. According to Shakya, the two-day weekly off is for the winter period only for now, as winter is when there is a power crunch and the demand also peaks.
However, Minister for Industry Anil Kumar Jha, who is also a member of the committee, said it was agreed in principal among members of the committee but a formal decision is yet to be taken. “There is no option, so it seems the two-day holiday in the package couldn´t be removed; its obligatory to reduce demand for electricity as our supply is very low compared to demand, especially in winter,” he said.
But Bogati confirmed that the package has already been endorsed and it will be implemented. “The Ministry of Energy would be responsible for implementation, and from our side we have already endorsed it,” added Bogati.
The loadshedding minimization package also includes special powers for local authorities to impose an emergency if a hydro-power project construction site is obstructed by locals. The local authorities would be authorized to impose an emergency and prepare the environment for smooth construction work. Chief district officers can impose emergency at construction sites.
Major points in loadshedding minimization package
-Full operation of 2 existing thermal plants
- Buy 1,350,000 more units a day from India
- Ban use of heaters and air coolers in government offices; two days off weekly
- Measures to control leakage; increased loadshedding in districts with high leakage