Reduced allocations in energy and irrigation

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By Laxman Kafle,Kathmandu, May 31: The government has allocated Rs. 87.45 billion for the development of energy, water resources and irrigation sectors for the next fiscal year 2023/24.

It is Rs. 21 billion less than the budget allocated for current fiscal year.

A budget of Rs. 75.10 billion was allocated for energy and Rs. 33.50 billion allocated towards water resources and irrigation for the current fiscal year.

After Finance Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat could manage the budget only for strategic projects to be completed, the budget of the development sectors such as physical infrastructure and energy was reduced for the next fiscal year.

While presenting the annual budget for the next fiscal year 2023/24 at the Federal Parliament on Monday, Finance Minister Dr. Mahat said that the government had prepared the budget for the next fiscal year with the slogan of the second phase of economic reform and structural change of the economy.

900 MW power in national grid

He said that within one year, 900 megawatts of electricity would be added to the national grid.

He said that after the completion of 111 MW Rasuwagadhi, 102 MW Middle-Bhotekoshi, 42.5 MW Sanjen and hydropower and solar projects promoted by private investors, approximately 900 MW electricity would be added to the national transmission system in the next fiscal year.

 By the end of the next fiscal year, the total electricity production would reach 3,600 megawatts.

There is a mention in the budget that the construction work of West Seti Hydropower Project, Seti River 6, Lower Arun and other hydropower projects, which are of strategic importance, would be carried out after signing the project development agreement.

He said that in order to meet the electricity demand of dry season and to export electricity, the construction work of 1,200 megawatt capacity Budhigandaki and 635 megawatt Dudhkoshi reservoir hydropower projects would be forwarded by preparing investment modality of these projects.

The government has said that the constriction of 1061 MW Upper Arun, 210 MW Chainpur Seti, 106 MW Jagadulla, 99.9 MW Tamakoshi IV, 70.3 MW Simbuwa Khola and 77.5 MW Ghunsa Khola hydropower projects would be started with the joint investment of federal, provincial and local governments.

It is mentioned in the budget that charging stations would be increased with the investment of the private sector as well, encouraging the use of electric vehicles.

Electricity access to all population within two years

The government's goal is to provide access to electricity to 100 per cent of the population within next two years

Dr. Mahat said that renewable energy technologies such as micro and small hydropower and solar and wind would be expanded to households in remote areas where the national transmission line has not reached in order to reach 100 per cent of the population within next two years.

By significantly reducing the amount of imported fuel, per capita electricity consumption would be increased to 450 kilowatt hours.

Rs. 38.32 billion for transmission lines The government has allocated Rs. 38.32 billion for the improvement and expansion of domestic and international transmission lines and distribution systems.

The distribution system would be made reliable and effective by strengthening, expanding and upgrading the national and international power transmission lines, he said.

The government is planning to start construction of 400 KV New Butwal-Gorakhpur, Inaruwa-Purniya and Dodhara-Bareli cross-border transmission lines.

The construction of a 400 kV Karnali Corridor transmission line based on the river basin would be accelerated.

Finance Minister Dr. Mahat said that the restructuring work of Nepal Electricity Authority would be carried forward.

"For electricity development and transmission, a legal arrangement would be made so that the Nepal Electricity Authority can mobilise loans like a commercial organisation. Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company would be restructured and made effective," he said.

There is a mention in the budget that irrigation services would be provided to an additional one thousand hectares of land by expanding the western main and branch canals of the Babai Irrigation Project. For that, Rs. 630 million has been allocated for this project.

The government has planned to expand irrigation services to 18,400 hectares of land through the irrigation project to be implemented in the next fiscal.

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