Prof. Lama addresses Afro Asian 7th International Conference in Nepal

Prof. Lama addresses Afro Asian 7th International Conference in Nepal

HM Bureau, Gangtok, March 4: The Afro Asian 7th  International Conference on “Speedy Development of Hydropower in Developing Countries- Issues & Challenges” focussing on the celebration to mark the 100th year of Nepal’s first hydropower plant  was inaugurated by the President of Nepal Dr Ram Baran Yadav in Kathmandu on Friday.

While delivering the inaugural address the President urged the government of Nepal to generate at least 100 MW power every year. He noted that though the hydropower potentials of Nepal is 83000 MW so far it has been able to harness only 687 MW which is not even 1 percent of the total potentials of Nepal. He lamented at the very poor situation of power today in the country where there is a regular load shedding of over 14 hours every day. He also urged the global financing companies to invest in the hydel power projects in Nepal.

Attended by a large number of delegates from across the world, this conference had attracted very eminent hydro power experts and professionals.  Prof Mahendra P Lama, Founding Vice Chancellor of Sikkim University delivered the key note address at the inaugural function entitled “Transforming Himalayan Waters into Energy : The South Asian Challenges

Prof Lama presented the three models of power trading in South Asia primarily focussing on the seasonality of hydel power generation in the mountains states of India and the neighbouring countries like Bhutan and Nepal. These three models are Bilateral, Third Country Option: Import from Bhutan, Nepal and other non-SAARC countries and Regional Power Pool Option.

In the bilateral options, he gave the example of India – Bhutan Energy Exchange of almost 1440 mw from the power generated at Chhukha (336 MW); Kurichu (60 MW) and Tala (1020 MW). Bhutan annually exports 5922 million units to India which fetches them a hefty revenue of revenue US $ 203 million (Rs 1000 crore). This is 47% of national revenue of Bhutan. By 2020 Bhutan is likely to have a power generation of 10,000 MW.

He highlighted the lost opportunities in Nepal when he said that from 1911 when the first hydro project was set up in Nepal and till 2010 Nepal was able to add hardly 6 MW per annum. On the other hand, Bhutan where the first hydel project was set up in 1967 added  34 MW per annum till 2011.

While giving the example of Third country exports he highlighted what is happening in Afghanistan today which signed a MOU to provide ‘TRANSIT’ electricity as part of the Central Asia-South Asia Regional Electricity Market  [CASAREM].  He also mentioned that the development of power projects in the mountain areas of India and the generation of surplus power in States in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh exactly fit into “develop-the-west” campaign launched in China in 2000.

China’s western region covers 2/3 rd of the nation’s territory. With a total population 23 percent of the national total it consists of nine provinces : Gansu, Guizhou, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Yunnan. All these provinces are energy highly deficit  regions and could tremendously gain from the power imports from Indian Himalayan states. This only requires few kilometres of inter connections. This would bring a new dimension to the phenomenon of interdependence in the Sino-India relations

In the Regional Power Pool model , he gave the examples of Successful Power Pools in many regions in the world including Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) consisting of South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Angola, Swaziland &  Tanzania and Nord  Pool consisting of Norway, Sweden, Finland & Denmark. He highlighted the success story of such a regional power exchange programme in the Greater Mekong Sub-region which has covered 5 countries including Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam  and two provinces of china viz., Yunnan and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He floated the idea of South Asian Power Pool for this region.

Prof Lama also forthrightly raised the issue of new dynamics injected by Climate Change Impact. He said how glacial erosions and likely impact on hydrological flows on South Asian river system could disrupt the hydel power projects in the mountain areas. The Warming in the Himalayas in the last three decades has been between 0.15°C – 0.6°C per decade.  He suggested that three strategies to deal with the climate change impact viz., i) Climate change predictions at the regional level should be a top priority; ii) Role of Himalaya as the Water Tower for Asia needs to be safeguarded and iii) Water be seen as the main produce of the Himalayan land.

He also urged the Nepalese Govt and the Indian Govt to jointly bid  to include the Sidrapong Power House in Darjeeling which was built in 1897 (first in Asia) and Pharping power house in Nepal built in 1911(third in Asia)  in the World heritage list of the United Nations Economic and Social Organisation (UNESCO). There was a huge applause from the audience when he proposed this. The Secretary in the Ministry of Energy SR Regmi applauded the role of academics and experts in keeping the discourse of hydel power alive and widespread.

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Kolkata HC summons North Bengal IG for ‘Shoot at Sight’ statement

Kolkata HC summons North Bengal IG for ‘Shoot at Sight’ statement Himalayan Mirror Correspondent, Darjeeling, March 4: The Kolkata High Court today passed an order directing the North Bengal Inspector General of Police to show cause through an affidavit on March 8. … Continue reading

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Former CM’s delayed developmental works: Chamling

Former CM’s delayed developmental works: Chamling

SDF marks 19th foundation day, slew of projects announced

Himalayan Mirror Correspondent, Namchi, March 4: Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) led state government has created immense opportunities for all class of people in the state. If anyone fails to grab those opportunities, it is owing to their laziness. Inspite of SDF has been initiating different beneficiary schemes for the state peoples, they (youths) are unable to make proper use of the same, said chief minister and SDF president, Pawan Kumar Chamling on the occasion of 19th SDF foundation day of Poklok-Kamrang and Namchi-Singithang constituency held at Bhaichung Stadium, Namchi, South district here today.

Addressing the gathering, Chamling informed that the SDF has carried the developmental policies of Sikkim at a peak level creating an example for the whole nation. Stating that the SDF party has abided by to serve the common people of Sikkim, he said that the people at present are enjoying the true democracy.

Alleging the previous chief ministers LD Kazi and Nar Bahadur Bhandari for the slow rate of development in Sikkim at their respective regimes, Chamling said that the SDF government is mending and rectifying those misdeeds.

“The previous leaders of Sikkim lacked vision and sincerity. We have developed every opportunity and facilities for the peoples as per their need thus they should not be misled at this time when Sikkim is going in the direction of progress. If the opposition parties had better schemes than ours, we would discuss and implement them willingly if it’s carries the aspiration of state peoples”, he added.

CM further urged the educated unemployed youths to come forward and break the traditional mindset of hoping government services. “Youths should be the job giver and not the job seeker. There are wider opportunities and scope in the private sectors”, he supposed.

Chamling further mentioned that SDF labour front had issued a one month ultimatum notice to all the power projects, industries and private enterprises demanding ample vacancies for recruitment of state peoples in those projects.

“Labour front is working for creating space for locals and if those companies do not respond the peoples will themselves take the issue to the streets. One cannot continue with their monopoly in Sikkim whatsoever”, he underlined.

Speaking on the developmental works in state, Chamling informed that the 70 percent of the total budget of Sikkim has been invested in the rural development works.

“Rs 120 crore has been sanctioned for building of metalled roads while Rs 700 crore has been sanctioned for the double lane roadway. Further, an alternative highway from Sikkim via Jelapla, Bhutan and West Bengal had been sanctioned along with Rs 181 crore for the building of six thousand houses for the BPL families”, he informed.

The meeting was also attended by former CM Sancha Man Limboo, MP PD Rai, VP (S) SDF, GM Gurung, SDF Central Committee and District Committee members and senior party workers.

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