By Baburam Sharma,Dolakha, Mar. 31: Dolakha district is fast becoming the capital of hydropower production in the nation thanks to favourable geographical conditions and working environment, access to roads, security of investments and awareness among the people.
The district already has six completed hydroelectricity projects and over a dozen, including the national pride project Upper Tamakoshi, are currently under construction.
Moreover, various studies have shown that around 2,000 Megawatts of electricity can be produced from Dolakha district alone.
Dolakha is also the second richest district in Nepal in terms of water resources with 3.30 per cent of its total area covered by water.
Many rivers, including the Tamakoshi, Rolwaling, Singati, Khani, Khare, Dolti, Gumu, Gopi, Ghyang, Andheri, Charnawati, Khimti and Milti, flow through the district, and it is estimated that over 1,000 locals will get employment if the hydropower potential of these rivers are tapped.
According to the data maintained by the Department of Electricity Development, more than a dozen projects have received licenses to survey the hydroelectricity potential of and study the feasibility of constructing run-of-river and reservoir-based power projects on the rivers of the district.
The Norwegian company Statkraft had even prepared the detailed project report (DPR) of Tamakoshi 3. However, it pulled out and now, another company TBI Holding holds the survey license for the project.
Shares to locals
The practice of allowing locals to invest in hydroelectricity projects through shares has also started from Dolakha. It started with the 456-Megawatt Upper Tamakoshi, which will be the largest hydroelectric plant in Nepal when completed. The affected people were allowed to purchase 10 per cent of the shares of the project. The Securities Act also ensures this facility to the project-affected people.
Dolakha is also rapidly developing as an excellent destination for hydropower tourism.
Data provided by various projects of the district show that students pursuing an education in civil, hydromechanical, electromechanical and geological-related fields in Nepali and foreign universities, along with the professionals and the people interested in the hydroelectricity generation visit the district to learn about the various hydel projects and their operation.
Tourism entrepreneurs of the district have also noticed this trend and feel that it can be exploited to bring in international visitors and boost economic activity.
Indra Shrestha, president of the Dolakha Chamber of Commerce and Industry, feels that once the Tamakoshi 3 project is completed, it will transform the tourism scene in Dolakha for the better.