For a country that in the past suffered the paralysing impact of long power outages every day, the inauguration of the largest hydropower project under domestic investment comes as a matter of pride and joy. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli virtually opened the 456 megawatt Upper Tamakoshi power house located in Dolakha district on Monday. As the path to development cannot open without electricity, coming into operation of this power plant should be hailed as an important milestone in power infrastructure sector. Upper Tamakoshi is one of the pride projects of the nation and, though the inaugurated unit that came into operation the other day has the capacity to generate 76 megawatt electricity in the opening phase, the plant will add significant amount of power to the national grid when it starts operating in its full capacity within months.
The hydropower plant will double its generation capacity to 152 megawatt within this fiscal year and connect it to the national grid. As the name of the project suggests, this hydel plant stands as a symbol of pride because it is built with the investment and expertise within the country. In this context the Prime Minister has said that the inauguration of power generation at Upper Tamakoshi adds to the confidence of the nation that it is capable of building a mega hydel plant on its own capacity and capital. Swift implementation of power projects is very important because delays result in the accumulation of losses every day. The Prime Minister touched upon this problem when he said that the nation had to face huge losses directly or indirectly due to delays in the completion of projects.
Upper Tamakoshi should serve as a model of project that did not make delays in completion and other projects should follow suit. As electricity is the driver of economic growth, power generation from this project can have multi-dimensional benefits in the development sector. Gaining self-sufficiency in the energy sector is vital because it saves billions to be spent in the import of petroleum fuels and electricity from India. Hydroelectricity is a form of clean energy that helps to minimise environmental pollution and deforestation. Use of electricity also helps to reduce indoor pollution caused by the use of kerosene and fuelwood. As the nation is headed on the path of development and prosperity, attaining self-reliance in power is an essential pre-requisite. It is not just a matter of heating and cooling homes and operating gadgets; power is necessary for industries and transport.
Smooth pace of development cannot be imagined without smooth and uninterrupted power supply. There is a tremendous potential of power consumption market in Nepal at a time when we are making seasonal import of electricity from India to meet the deficit. Operation of power plants like Upper Tamakoshi will end power shortage for good. If we are generating excess power, we should also explore market for export during the peak season. As electricity is a perishable commodity, it is wasted in absence of immediate consumption. When we develop mega hydel plants, consumer expansion and finding export market are also important.