Until a few years ago, 72 per cent of people in Karnali region did not have access to electricity; this has changed to 67 per cent at present.
The change has been attributed to building of some small micro hydropower and solar energy projects with the formation of province and local level governments.
Five out of ten districts — Surkhet, Dailekh, Salyan, Jajarkot, and Rukum (West) — in Karnali have been connected to the national grid. The remaining districts — Jumla, Kalikot, Mugu, Humla and Dolpa — are yet to be connected to it.
Jumla Civil Society chairperson, Raj Bahadur Mahat, has lamented that they have now lost their hope to have access to the national grid.
Despite abundant sources for hydropower production, a large population of Karnali is deprived of electricity. Mahat complained that the federal government is still unaware of the pains and hardships of people living in the upper Karnali.
Jumla witnesses power outage for over 15 hours a day. Nepal Electricity Authority’s Jumla Chief, Gaurav Pandey, shared that power production has gone down and this is one of the reasons for the increased load-shedding hours in the district. ”The current power generation is not sufficient to meet the demand and we have tried to continue power supply through the use of generator.”
Poles have already been installed for the extension of national grid in the district and it would happen soon if efforts were made politically, Pandey said.
Karnali is home to 1.75 million people where around 33 per cent have access to power supplied by the national grid.