Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Re: Fw: My article re federalism

September 14, 2009
Mr Chiran S Thapa
Naxal, Kathmandu
Dear Chiranjee

I did intend to provoke people to join in in the brainstorming on various issues related to federalism by writing this article. But I didn't assume that units in a federal system cannot bargain in the best interests of the Nepali people, I had merely recorded my apprehension. But my apprehension is not misplaced in as much as evidenced by treaties from Koshi through Mahakali.

As a student of economics I don't believe too much in protectionism, rather I believe in comparative and competitive advantage. However, I am great fan of self reliance, to the extent it is economically and financially viable.

With regard to bulk power what we have now is monospony and this is not a sensible path to follow and this basically amounts to "protecting" inefficiencies. By mere restructing the power sector we can reduce close to a quarter of our current load shedding problem.

I write these pieces with passion such that people will contemplate about the matter rather carefully.

PS: This morning I made a presentation on federalism and water resource to about two dozen members of CA, challenging them to seriously think about its negative externalities. The luminaries present were Dina Nath Sharma, Bhim Acharya, Gagan Thapa, Pasang Sherpa, Buddha Sayami, et al. It succeeded in generating a very passionate debate.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha,

-----Original Message-----
From: C.S. Thapa [] On Behalf Of C.S. Thapa
Sent: Saturday, September 12, 2009 4:39
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: Fw: My article

Dear Ratnaji,

I find your article interesting even when it is provocative as it assumes or comes close to assuming that units in a federal system cannot bargain in the best interests of the Nepali people. Protectionism -such as protecting a country's industries, services when they mean consumers have to cough up more is an argument for cheaper imports. Power and water consuming units will have to compete with other buyers, including foreign ones, for the right price to pay for surplus power (the MidWest) and water (Melamchi). This is doable but monopoly power in purchase is replaced by some form of competition, which, other things being equal, leads to greater efficiency.

Your analysis deserves careful consideration nevertheless.



On Aug 14 2009, Ratna Sansar Shrestha wrote:

>Sharing water resources
>Water resources will be the next contentious issue in a federal Nepal

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Re: Federalism is fraught with potential failure

September 6, 2009
Mr Chiran S Thapa
Naxal, Kathmandu
Dear Chiranjee

What we need is more interactive discussions like this in order to ensure that we don’t take the country down the Yugoslavia path. I have come to note that aspirations of ethnic federalism whetted by Maoists has started to snowball they didn’t expect but they never meant what Dr Bhattachan is now aggressively propagating and some Newa and other ethnic communities are asking for (evidence of which lies in the fact that Maoists ethnic outfits are headed by people from different ethnic communities, mainly Bahuns).

Affirmative action that you are recommending is what we would need for an initial period of 5-10 years, to address problems of this generation. The best antidote for exclusion of future generation lies in providing opportunity to learn (quality education) to all downtrodden at state cost.

However, what is urgently required is to expose people like Dr Bhattachan who has to resort to foul language and unbecoming words to make his point – I am not too sure if he made his point last Thursday, though.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha, fca
Senior Water Resource Analyst

-----Original Message-----
From: C.S. Thapa [] On Behalf Of C.S. Thapa
Sent: Sunday, September 6, 2009 5:18
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: Fw: Article in Nepali Times # 467

dear Ratnaji,

It appears both from the Forum presentations on Thursday and your article that a common-sense approach would give regional and/or national rights to say the largest ten communities - the Chhetris, the hill Brahmans, the Magars, the Tharus, the Tamangs, the Newars, etc. but require that the "minorities" have affirmative rights not with preferences but with tougher conditions for the majority communities, for example Brahmins and Newars would have to have higher degrees and better academic performance in the national and local civil services and Chhetris would have tougher entry requirements in the National Army - just to cite one way toward mitigation of the problem. The other 49 communities would have local, district or
smaller geopgraphical space commensurate with their population numbers. The country has grown from a population of six million in 1951 to 30 million in about sixty years. some communities provide critical mass for autonomy but this requires collaborative solutions and less confrontational polemics and rights-demanding threats.



On Sep 4 2009, Ratna Sansar Shrestha wrote:

>Jumping the gun
>Federalism is fraught with potential failure

Monday, September 21, 2009

Re: Federalism is fraught with potential failure

September 5, 2009
Mr YB Thapa
Former Member
National Planning Commission

It is rather shortsighted on the part of Newa to ask for a separate province along with others asking for ethnic provinces. What needs to be remembered is that each province will be unitary (centralized) and the problem of exclusion will still persist. Therefore, what is required is devolution of authorities to the grassroots, in which case we won’t need to fragment this “tiny” country. If fragmentation couldn’t be avoided then I too prefer provinces based on river basins such that optimal exploitation of our famed water resources could be assured.

Where the capital is located isn’t a big issue. In view of many factors (unavailability of many essentials) I too agree that it is time the capital is shifted. But which location is appropriate should be decided after making a thorough study. In my considered opinion Chitwan (I take it you mean Bharatpur/Narayangarh) is not appropriate as it has already grown in an unplanned (and haphazard) fashion. As all new capitals (New Delhi, Islamabad, etc.) we should locate it where we can start from a scratch - a well planned national capital.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: YB Thapa []
Sent: Friday, September 4, 2009 15:13
To: 'Ratna Sansar Shrestha'
Subject: RE: Fw: Article in Nepali Times # 467

Ratna ji

Federalism is bad, centralism worse. The bettering with federalism is that it provides many chairs for the politicians who otherwise have a questionable productivity. Some 25 years before , I had publish a paper in CNAS Journal to imply three provincial governments in Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali river basins. Now if the Newa want a separate state in the Kath-valley, so be it. We will shift the national capital to Chitwan along both banks of Narayani river. What is your opinion in it.


YB Thapa

From: Ratna Sansar Shrestha []
Sent: Friday, September 04, 2009 1:36 PM
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:
Subject: [!! SPAM] Fw: Article in Nepali Times # 467

Jumping the gun

Federalism is fraught with potential failure

What others should do... (philanthropic acvities)

September 18, 2009
Mr Rabindra Mishra
Speaking through Action &
BBC Radio (Nepal)
Dear Rabindrajee

I too read your article with interest and almost instantaneously knew that a sharp rejoinder as such will soon be forthcoming. But I am both surprised and shocked that you have thrown in towel so quickly and in such a manner. What Dipakjee is saying has its own merit in the backdrop of what was meted out to KingG by the "loktantriksters" - to borrow a term from him. But I firmly do believe that you too have a valid point in terms of what is the best use of one's property - acquired by means fair and/or foul - not just in the case of KingG but all and sundry too.

I am familiar with what you were doing while in London philanthropically and I do subscribe to your idea and feel that all human beings should ponder over what you have said and endeavor to follow it. We have a saying in Nepal (I am sure that you are aware of it) that if your offspring is a "saput" - qualified, capable and well behaved son or daughter - the parents don't need to leave any wealth behind as s/he will make her/his million on her/his own. Conversely, no matter how much of wealth is left behind by the parents to a "kaput" s/he will finish it off in no time, in worse manner, for bad purposes. Therefore, after investing time and resources in bringing up a saput out of one's offspring what is left of one's property should be dedicated to the nation's cause - good ones.

I myself have been planning in this very line since last 5/6 years. I am planning to invest my property in setting up a fine educational institution (I don't have a lot but I reckon there is enough to at least construct a building for the purpose) bearing my name. At the risk of sounding immodest, I do want my name there so that other people too will follow the same path even if out of envy/jealousy (at least). BTW, as I have discussed the idea with my family in a very sketchy manner, I will make a public announcement about it in the near future after having a full fledged family discussion and I have only mentioned it here contextually (by way of a vague plan to put to practice what one preaches). Another facet of this is a question if I am depriving my children from their right. No problem as such exists as I and my better half didn’t share in our respective parental properties and what I have garnered so far is through sheer hard work (entitling me to claim to be a self made man).

Actually I would like people to invest in philanthropic activities such that I am planning to recommend to GoN to institute inheritance tax on those who don't like your idea. What I have in mind is: a stiff inheritance tax to be levied and such revenue stream to be used for the up-liftment of disadvantaged and downtrodden (not a single paisa to be spent on administration/overhead of the program). While people investing their property on philanthropic activities on their own will be exempted from this tax.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: Rabindra Mishra []
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:39
To: Dipak Gyawali
Cc: madhukar; Arup Rajouria; Ajaya Dixit; Ratna Sansar Shrestha; Prabal Sumshere Rana; Yubaraj Ghimire
Subject: Re: What others should do...

Dear Dipak Jee,

Thank you very much for your email. Usually, I get feedback from lots of readers but responses from academics like yourself provide a different perspective and insight, which are absolutely crucial to enhance my knowledge and understanding.

After reading your email, I realised the lack of wisdom in me and how one-sided my arguments were. I fully appreciate your points.

Thank you so much once again.

Best regards
2009/9/16 Dipak Gyawali <>

Dear Rabindra-ji

I read your Purba Raja Lai Khula Patra at the following link.

For obvious reasons you can understand, I would not be replying to you in the public forum, but I am copying this to a couple of friends including those whose name I saw in the reply section.

Frankly, I was quite disappointed with your analysis, although I am sure you will get a lot of syabasis from failed loktantrickbaadis as a great means to cover up their own failures. You sound like Badri Khatiwada with whom I have had a similar argument on this count.

Leaving aside the speculation of how many billions he has or does not have (how come the entire state machinery has been at it for such a long while but does not seem to come out with anything? Especially after the challenge he left when leaving Narayanhiti), what a common citizen, especially on who has been "commonized" should or should not do with his personal wealth is, as it is, a very personal choice. What belongs to his brothers has long been declared nationalized by our august parliament, which does not want to ask where the maoists got their money to buy hospitals or Sujata or Aarjoo to run their NGO fiefdoms (including Ponzi schemes), nor where the many PONGOs (party-organized NGOs) receive and spend theirs. They, and their Mughlani handlers also don't want to ask how a sitting prime minister boasted in Kantipur TV for all to see that he counterfeited Indian currency, bought petrol with it and deposited it in a bank, and also smuggled uranium to Israel; but they want us to believe that Paras counterfeits Indian currency with a long dead and assassinated MP's son!! (The state of my faith in the Mughlani media is colured by their reporting everyone from Vajpaye to Mayawati claiming that Nepal opens flood gates and floods UP and Bihar!)

Now, if you were KingG and demonized to the extent that you were, including by the BBC, why would you bother taking this advice from a BBC guy and go around opening schools? And how would you guarantee that his very first school would not be burned down as a "reactionary plot to indoctinate children into pratigaman"? Incidentally, your "advice" to him after Nepalganj was given around the very time KMTNC offices were being bombed!! Why would he want to add schools to that target list??

Bagmati clean up? Was the idea of this very challenging multi-generational task not begun at KMTNC? I was a trustee and took a lead in that. Why would KingG want to do Bagmati cleanup now of all the times when the very institutional instrument he built for that and other environmental purposes was robbed from under him and stripped clean of the trust funds so carefully built up in all those years? Before hunting for his supposed billions, it might be easier for you to start finding out where the measly crores that were in KMTNC's trust fund have gone. (I understand it has now come down to a few lakhs under the able stewardship of SPAM).

If your loktantriksters were acting in good faith, they would have made sure that if the royal family was to be sequestered from being involved with everyday politics -- something that many democrats and even "royalists" had supported -- they would be encouraged to get into social work. However, even after KingG had handed over power to the SPAM and long before the ganatantra idea was floated after certain ambitions of presidentship were stoked, KMTNC was "registration passed" to the new crown prince Niranjan Koirala who lasted all of 19 days, and left for Delhi complaining that "khai, paisa ta kehi rahena chha tyahan: baru merai badhi hola Dilli ma!" So your loktantricksters had no intention of allowing any space, even exisiting ones, to the royalty, ex or otherwise, for social engagement. Do you honestly believe they would allow that, especially now?? If you think they would, how about asking that they give him back his KMTNC and ask him to do all that you say he should do though this practically perfect institutional vehicle?

So I am afraid your open letter to KingG not only rings rather hollow with too much loktantrick populism but also fails to convince someone like me, who, if I met KingG would end up telling him: "forget Rabindra Mishra's advice -- ask him to give that to those who have looted the country either at gun point or rent-seeking points. Heaven knows, they need it if they want to be popular and get votes. You don't."

Sorry for this frank remark: couldn't help it after reading your piece.

Jai Hos!

Dipak Gyawali

Friday, September 18, 2009

RE: Multipurpose Melamchi

September 18, 2009
Dear Santa Gaha Magarjee

Your article on the captioned subject has finally appeared in the current issue of Himal. I was under the impression that it was to be published in Bhadra 1st issue. Never mind.

I am sending this email to you as there are a few serious errors in your write up.

In the very first paragraph you have referred to me as a member of "Melamchi Khane Pani Mahasul Nirdharan Ayog". I am neither associated with Melamchi nor does there exist an Ayog as you have described. Rather there exists a Water Supply Tariff Fixation Commission with jurisdiction over the whole Nepal (neither Melamchi only nor Kathmandu valley only) and I am a member of this Commission.

Secondly, you have quoted me to construe that water tariff even after escalation will still be cheap. You have got me completely wrong here. What I reiterated to you was that Kathmandu will suffer from water shortage even after completion of the Melamchi project and diversion of 170 MPLD into Kathmandu valley, because compared to the projected demand of that time, the availability will still be very far from the requirement. Therefore, forget water becoming cheap, consumers will not even have access to the quantum of water based on what they will have to pay at that time as well. You will also recall that with the passage of time the demand will keep on growing and so will the tariff; required to be escalated every year on the basis of inflation. This will mean consumers will keep on receiving water in lesser quantum every successive year but the tariff will keep on growing in inverse fashion. Thus, the very title of the article is misleading and the snippet used further reinforces the misconception about the whole thing.

What I tried to impress upon you was the importance of multipurpose Melamchi in solving water crisis of this valley. Under the multipurpose Melamchi scheme Kathmandu denizens will not only receive plenty of water but the electricity crisis obtaining in this region will too be resolved. The scheme we have proposed will give a new lease of life to our river Bagmati and also make additional water for irrigation in Bara, Rautahat and Sarlahi districts at no additional cost.If you recall, I did talk about the increased tariff becoming effectively cheap for the consumers on the condition that multipurpose Melamchi is implemented. Only in this scenario consumers here will be able to get rid of two stage pumps and reservoirs/tanks as well as the need to buy so called mineral water in bottles and jars or the "tankered" water becoming redundant. And only in this scenario the water will become cheap even if it is escalated by 10 times. Not the way you have led people to believe in your article. However, unfortunately, for the consumers of water supply in Kathmandu valley, electricity users of this region, people dependent on Bagmati river, farmers in Tarai, GoN is showing that it doesn't understand the magnitude and ramification of the problems at all.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Re: Federalism is fraught with potential failure

September 8, 2009

Mr Saubhagya Shah
Tribhuvan University

Dear Saubhagyajee

I have come to learn that if I try to limit myself to saying only politically correct things, then I will have to remain silent, which is not acceptable to me. I had to bend over backwards during Panchayat heydays to express myself but while remaining politically correct. Best example is my article on monarchy where I proved that monarchy was autocratic without saying so in so many words, published in Manas on 13th Magh 2040 ( My friends managing Manas became very scared of me being arrested. But rest is history.

Therefore, in this age and at this time, not wanting to invest my time in "mincing" my words I have been writing directly and to the point. I agree with you and would like to add that being cheap and populist will cost the nation very dear.

I hope that the Parliamentary Committee will take initiative to correct the mistakes. I have been there for over 4 times and have also received indications that I will still be called upon. Starting a citizen's petition is an excellent idea. I hope you can germinate the idea in right quarters (I am seemingly passing the buck to you, but you will realize that if the idea comes from me, a lot of people will become defensive).

BTW I have read the second part of your article in Nepal and glad that we are in agreement on many important issues.

Take care and keep in touch.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: Saubhagya Shah []
Sent: Saturday, September 5, 2009 13:57
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: Fw: Article in Nepali Times # 467

Dear Sir,

Under the present political environment, this is not a very politically correct viewpoint. But I agree with many of your sound and rational arguments on this important issue. At political class at this point is not guided by what is sound and sustainble, they are unfortunately driven by what is cheap and populist.

I head about the testimony you gave to the Parliamentary committee. Do you think they will redo the agreement with the companies so that Nepal gets more benefit? I hope we can start a citizen's petiton drive to renegotiate all our hydropower deals that have been signed recently...just as in the case of higher education. I am sure that would force the government to reconsider its decidions.



--- On Fri, 9/4/09, Ratna Sansar Shrestha wrote:

From: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Fw: Article in Nepali Times # 467
Date: Friday, September 4, 2009, 3:48 AM

Jumping the gun

Federalism is fraught with potential failure

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

नेपालमा संघियता र जलश्रोत

प्रस्तुत लेख कुनै अनुसन्धानात्मक वा अन्वेषणमूलक कार्यपत्र होइन । जलश्रोत क्षेत्रमा अढाइ दशक अघि देखि काम गर्दाको अनुभव तथा अनुभूतिको सन्दर्भमा संघियताको परिवेश जोिडंदा मुलुकमा के कस्तो अनुकूल प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पर्छ भन्ने सम्बन्धमा पंक्तिकारको आंकलन र विष्लेशन मात्र हो । हृदयंगम् गरिएका धारणालाई पंक्तिबद्ध सम्म गरिएको हो ।

संबिधानको ढांचा कस्तो हुने, यसमा के कस्ता प्रावधानहरु राख्ने लगायत मुलुक एकात्मक नैं रहने कि संघियतामा जाने आदि विषयमा संबिधान सभाले छलफल गरेर निक्र्योल गरी संविधानमा समावेश गर्नुपर्ने हो । तर अन्तरिम व्यवस्थापिका-संसदले नैं अन्तरिम संबिधानको धारा १३८(१) मा पहिलो संशोधन गरेर नेपाललाई "संघिय शासन प्रणाली सहितको अग्रगामी पुन:संरचना गरिनेछ" भन्ने व्यवस्था गरेर नेपाललाई संघियतामा लैजाने निधो गरियो । तर संघियता के कस्तो हो, यसले मुलुकमा के कस्ता अनुकूल प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पार्छ भन्ने बारे नबुझिकनै नेपाल जस्तो सानो मुलुक संघिय शासन प्रणालीमा जानु अग्रगामि हुन्छ कि अन्यथा भन्ने निक्र्योल गर्नु अगावै अन्तरिम व्यवस्थापिका-संसदले नैं नेपाललाई संघिय राज्य घोषणा गरिदिए । यसले गर्दा एकात्मक राज्य संरचनाले नेपालमा निरन्तरता पाउने कि संघिय संरचनामा जांदा देश र जनता लाभान्वित हुन्छ भन्ने विषयमा छलफल र सहमति गर्ने अवसरबाट जननिर्वाचित संबिधान सभाका सदस्यहरु र नेपाली जनतालाई समेत बंचित पारिएको अवस्था छ ।

तर यसो भन्दैमा जनताले निर्वाचित नगरेको अन्तरिम व्यवस्थापिका-संसदका सदस्यहरुलाई जनताद्वारा निर्वाचित संविधान सभाकै जस्तो अधिकार सम्पन्न मान्न सकिन्न र यस सम्बन्धमा छलफल, मन्थन, बहस जरुरी छ र त्यस पछि मात्र निर्णयमा पुगिनुपर्छ । नेपाली जनता संघियता भनेको के हो, यसले के कस्तो सकारात्मक नकरात्मक प्रभाव पर्छ भन्ने बुझ्न चाहन्छन् । नेपाल जस्तो सानो मुलुकलाई आत्मनिर्णयको अधिकार सहितका बिभिन्न प्रान्तहरुमा बिखण्डित गर्नु लाभदायक हुन्छ कि हुन्न भनेर बृहत रुपमा छलफल, मन्थन, चिन्तन हुनु जरुरी छ । यसरी बिखण्डन गरेपछिको परिणति के हुनसक्छ भन्ने पनि बेलैमा सोच्न आवश्यक छ । आजको विश्व मानचित्रबाट युगोस्लाभिया भन्ने देशको नामै मेटिएको घटनाबाट पनि पाठ सिक्न वान्छनिय छ ।

अर्कोतिर जलश्रोतको सन्दर्भमा एकथरि मानिसहरुको बुझाईमा जलश्रोत भनेको जलबिद्युत मात्र हो भन्ने भएतापनि जीवनयापनको लागि अत्यावश्यक खानेपानी, सरसफाईको लागि पानी पनि जलश्रोतकै सदुपयोग हो भने िसंचाई देखि लिएर जलपरिवहन, जलकृडामा आधारित पर्यटन, औद्योगिक प्रयोजनको लागि पानी पनि जलश्रोतको समुचित उपयोग हो । यसकारणले गर्दा संघियताको आधारमा देशलाई बिखण्डन गर्नु अगावै संघियता अवलम्बन गर्दा जलश्रोतको समुचित उपयोग हुनसक्छ कि सक्दैन र उपयोगमा कुनै बाधा अवरोध आउनसक्छ कि सक्दैन, आएमा कसरी निराकरण गर्नु पर्छ, गर्न सकिन्छ भन्ने सम्बन्धमा चिन्तन मन्थन गर्न आवश्यक छ । साथै संघियता बाध्यात्मक रुपमा अवलम्बन गर्नु पर्ने भएमा के कस्ता कुरामा सचेत हुनुपर्छ, जलश्रोतको अधिकतम दोहन कसरी सम्भव हुन्छ र के गर्दा देश र जनताको भलो हुन्छ भन्ने कुरामा पनि बिचार पुर् याउन जरुरी छ ।

प्राकृतिक श्रोत
जहांसुकै जन्मी, हुर्केर, बसे पनि यस मुलुकको कुनै पनि कुनामा अवस्थित प्राकृतिक श्रोतमा सबै नेपाली नागरिकको समान हक हुन्छ भन्ने सर्बमान्य सिद्धान्त हो । उदाहरणतः घरैघरको जंगल बनेको काठमाडौं उपत्यकामा बसोबास गर्ने नेपालीको पनि प्रख्यात चारकोशे झाडी भनिने वन र त्यहां प्राप्य रुख, बिरुवा, काठ, दाउरा, वन्य जन्तु, जडिबुटीमा हक लाग्छ । तर नेपाललाई संघियताको नाममा बिखण्डित गरे पछि बिभिन्न प्रान्त बीच प्राकृतिक श्रोतको बांडफांट पनि जटिल हुने निश्चित छ । यस सन्दर्भमा मनाङको नार हत्याकाण्डलाई स्मरण गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ जहां यासा्रगुम्बु माथि मनाङबासीको मात्र हक लाग्छ भन्ने भ्रम पालेका केही मनाङबासीले गोरखाका ७ जना निर्दोष, निहत्था जनताको निर्मम हत्या गरेकाछन् । यस परिवेशमा विभिन्न प्रान्तमा छुट्टिएपछि एक प्रान्तका बासिन्दाले अन्य प्रान्तबाट एउटा सिन्का सम्म पनि नपाउने धारणाको समेत विकास हुन थालेको देखिएकोछ । तसर्थ अब बेला भएकोछ नेपाल संघियतामा गएपछि नेपालको जलश्रोतको उपयोग/उपभोगमा के कस्ता प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पर्छ र नेपालको अर्थतन्त्रले यसलाई थेग्न सक्छ कि सक्दैन भन्ने आकलन गर्ने ।

जलश्रोत पनि प्राकृतिक श्रोतहरु मध्ये एक भएतापनि अन्य प्राकृतिक श्रोत भन्दा यसको प्रकृति उपयोग/दोहन गर्ने र लाभान्वित हुने तरीका फरक छ । संघियताको सन्दर्भमा जलश्रोत बारे बिबेचना गर्नु अगाडी जलश्रोत र अन्य प्राकृतिक श्रोतको बीचमा बिद्यमान बिभेद पहिचान गर्न आवश्यक हुन्छ । जमिन, जंगल, जडीबुटी, खनिज पदार्थ जस्ता श्रोत स्थानिय बासिन्दा आफै संलग्न भएर, उद्यम गरेर र उपयोग गरेर लाभान्वित हुनसक्छन् प्रत्यक्ष लाभ लिन सक्छन् रुखबाट टिपेर, जमिनबाट उखेलेर, जग्गा उत्खनन् गरेर, खेती गरेर इत्यादि । तर जलश्रोतको दोहन यसरी हुन्न, स्थानिय बासिन्दाले िसंचाई लघु जलबिद्युत, जल पर्यटन सम्बन्धी कुटीर उद्योग आदिबाट लाभान्वित हुने गरेर गरिने कृयाकलाप बाहेक ।

एउटा गाउंका बासिन्दाले खानेपानीको लागि अर्को गाउंबाट मुहान नैं किन्ने गरिएको समाचार प्रसारण भएकैछन् । काठमाडौं उपत्यकाको खानेपानी समस्या समाधान गर्न भनेर सिन्धुपाल्चोक जिल्लाबाट मेलन्ची नदी छेकेर सुरुङ्गमार्गबाट पानी ल्याउने भनिएको ३० वर्ष पछि हालै ठेक्का सम्झौता सम्पन्न भएको बुझिन्छ । तर मेलम्चीका स्थानिय जनताले लेभी स्वरुप केहि रकम प्राप्त हुनुपर्ने देखि पानीबाट बंचित हुने स्थानिय जनतालाई दीगो आयश्रोतको व्यवस्था गर्न पर्ने समेतका मांग राखेको अवस्था छ । तर यस्तो केहि व्यवस्था गर्नको लागि खानेपानी महसूलले थेग्न सक्दैन र महसूल बृद्धि गरेर पनि साध्य हुन्न ।

पिउन तथा सरसफाईको लागि पानी जनजीवनको लागि अत्यावश्यक हुन्छ र यसलाई नागरिकको मौलिक अधिकारमा समाबेश गर्नुपर्ने धारणा धेरैको छ । अर्कोतिर पानी पनि अन्य सरसामान जस्तै किनबेच गर्ने वस्तुको रुपधारण गरिसकेको अवस्था छ । विषेश गरेर बहुराष्ट्रिय वित्तिय संस्थाले खानेपानी सेवाप्रदायक संस्था पनि अन्य व्यापारिक संस्था जस्तै संचालन हुनुपर्ने भन्ने अडान लिएकोले धारामा आउने पानीको "मूल्य" व्यापारिक अवधारणामा निर्धारण गर्ने दवाब आएको अवस्था छ । प्लाष्टिकका बोटल, जार तथा यस्तै भांडोमा र ट्यांकरबाट बिक्री गरिने पानी त व्यापारिक अवधारणामा बिक्री बितरणको प्रचलन आई नैं सकेको अवस्था छ । तर यो अवस्था आउनुमा खानेपानी सेवाप्रदायक संस्थाको अकर्मण्यता बढी जिम्मेवार छ ।

यस पृष्ठभूमिमा पिउनको लागि स्वच्छ पानी र आवश्यक परिमाणमा सरसफाईको लागि पानी उपलब्ध नहुनाल हालै रुकुम जाजरकोट लगायतका पश्चिमी जिल्लाहरुमा झाडापखालाबाट अकालमा सयौं नेपाली नागरिकले मृत्युवरण गर्न परेको स्मरण गर्न जरुरी छ । त्यसकारण खानेपानीको हिसाबले बहिस्करणमा परेकाको हकमा खानेपानीलाई मौलिक अधिकारमा नैं समाबेश गर्न आवश्यक देखिन्छ ।

जलबिद्युतठूला जलबिद्युत आयोजना निर्माण भएमा स्थानिय बासिन्दा मािथ प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पर्छ भने लाभान्वित हुन्छन् अन्यत्र बत्ति बाल्ने जनता । बत्ति मुनि अंध्यारो चरितार्थ हुने गरेर ठूला आयोजनाका निर्माणस्थल वरपरका जनताले बत्तिसम्म पनि बाल्न नपाएका दृष्टान्तहरु प िन अनगिन्ती छन् ।

साथै अहिले पश्चिमााचल विकास क्षेत्रले सबभन्दा बढी (झण्डै ३ सय ३० मेगावाट) जलबिद्युत उत्पादन गरेर आधा मात्र खपत गर्दछ भने पूर्वााचल विकास क्षेत्रले १४ मेगावाट उत्पादन गरेर त्यसको बीसौं गुणा बढी उपयोग गर्छ । मध्यमााचल विकास क्षेत्रले आफ्नो उत्पादन २ सय ७५ मेगावाट भन्दा केहि बढी खपत गर्छ । बिद्यमान ५ विकास क्षेत्रहरुलाई नैं प्रान्त घोषित गरिएमा यस किसिमको मिलिजुली उत्पादन एवम् उपयोगको सम्भावना कम हुन्छ । एक प्रान्तबाट अर्को प्रान्तमा कति मूल्यमा बिजुली उपलब्ध गराउने भन्ने सामान्य विषय पनि बिबादमुक्त हुन नसकेर एक प्रान्तले अर्को प्रान्तमा बिद्युत आपूर्ति नैं बन्द गर्ने सम्मको अवस्था आउन सक्छ र भारत निकासी गर्दा बढी मूल्य पाउने अवस्था आएमा नेपालकै एक प्रान्तलाई बिजुली उपभोगबाट बंचित राख्ने अवस्था सृजना हुन सक्छ ।

उपभोग्य उपयोग (consumptive use)मा प्रतिबन्ध
जलश्रोतको उपयोगको सम्बन्धमा जलश्रोत ऐन, २०४९ को दफा ७ को उपदफा १ मा खानेपानी र घरेलु उपयोग, िसंचाई तथा पशुपालन र मत्स्यपालन जस्ता कृषिजन्य उपयोगलाई क्रमसः पहिला, दोश्रो र तेश्रो प्राथमिकता क्रममा राखिएको छ भने जलबिद्युत लाई चौथो प्राथमिकतामा राखिएकोछ । तर जलबिद्युत आयोजनालाई अनुमतिपत्र प्रदान भई कार्यान्वयन भई सकेपछि जलश्रोत ऐनको प्राथमिकता क्रम सैद्धान्तिक रुपमा सीमित रहन पुग्छ र व्यवहारिक प्राथमिकता क्रम फरक पर्न जान्छ ।

कुनै पनि जलबिद्युत आयोजना निर्माण हुंदा आयोजनाको अनुमतिपत्र (लाईसेन्स)ले प्रदान गर्ने जलाधिकारको कारण माथिल्लो तटीय क्षेत्रमा नयां जमिनमा िसंचाई गर्नबाट बंचित हुन्छन् किनभने आयोजनालाई उपलब्ध हुने पानीको परिमाण घटेमा बिद्युत उत्पादन घट्नाले आयोजानाको राजश्व घटेर लगानिकर्तालाई घाटा पर्नेहुन्छ । बिद्युत नियमावली, २०५० को नियम २० मा यस सम्बन्धमा व्यवस्था गर्दै अनुमतिपत्रमा तोकिएको परिमाणको पानीमा अनुमतिपत्र प्राप्त गर्नेको हक लाग्ने व्यवस्था छ । दृष्टान्ततः माथिल्लो कर्णाली आयोजना निमार्ण भएमा जुम्लाका जनताले तीला नदीको पानीबाट िसंचाई गर्ने गरेर नयां िसंचाई आयोजना निर्माण गर्नबाट समेत बंचित हुन्छन् । तसर्थ िसंचाई दोश्रो प्राथमिकतामा परे पनि जलबिद्युत आयोजना कार्यान्वयन भईसकेको अवस्थामा उक्त आयोजनालाई अनुमतिपत्रले प्रत्याभूत गरेको पानीको परिमाणमा प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पर्ने गरेर िसंचाईको लागि पानी उपयोग गर्न प्रतिबन्धित हुन्छ ।

खानेपानी तथा घरेलु उपयोगले पहिलो प्राथमिकता पाएकोले नभएर यस प्रयोजनको लागि ठूलो परिमाणमा पानी नचाहिने हुनाले प्रतिबन्धको कुरा सान्दर्भिक हुन्न । तर काठमाडौं उपत्यका जस्तो घना बस्तीका बासिन्दाको लागि पानी ल्याउने सम्बन्धमा भने कार्यान्वयन भई सकेका जलबिद्युत आयोजनाको कारण अवरोध आउने नैं छ । यस सम्बन्धमा मेलम्ची परियोजना अन्तर्गत दोश्रो र तेश्रो चरणमा सिन्धुपाल्चोक जिल्लाका यांग्री र लार्के खोलाहरुबाट काठमाडौं उपत्यकामा पानी ल्याउने अवधारणा भएतापनि यसमा अवरोध हुनेछ किनभने यी नदीहरुको पानीमा निर्भर जलबिद्युत आयोजना सम्पन्न भईसकेकोछ र निर्माणाधीन पनि छन् ।

अझ स्मरणिय के छ भने रोपाइं बेलामा वर्षा नभई खेती गर्न अवरोध भएमा किसानले खानेपानीको पाइप नैं काटेर आफ्नो खेतमा पानी लगाउने गर्दछन् जसबाट उपभोक्ता खानेपानीको उपभोग गर्नबाट बंचित हुनेगर्छन् । यद्यपि जलश्रोत ऐन अनुसार खानेपानी पहिलो प्राथमिकता क्रममा पर्दछ । देश प्रान्तिय अवधारणामा गईसकेपछि यस्तो घटनाले गम्भिर बिबाद निम्त्याउने सम्भावना छ अहिले खानेपानीका उपभोक्ताले यसलाई सामान्य घटना मात्र मानेको अवस्था भएपनि ।

अत्याधुनिक प्रयोगको कुरा गर्ने हो भने त हाइड्रोजन अर्थतन्त्रको कुरा गर्न जरुरी हुन्छ । पानीमा बिद्युतिय तरंग प्रवाहित (electrolysis) गरेर पानीबाट हाइड्रोजन र अिक्सजन वायूहरु छुट्याउन सकिन्छ । हाइड्रोजन उर्जाको रुपमा प्रयोग गर्ने प्रबिधि विकास भै सकेको छ । केही समय पछि यो प्रविधिको लागत घटेपछि खाना पकाउनुको अलावा सवारी साधन तथा उद्योगको इन्धनको रुपमा पनि हाइड्रोजनको प्रयोग गरेर नेपाली अर्थतन्त्रलाई ठूलै योगदान गर्ने अवस्था श्रृजना हुन्छ । अिक्सजन त अस्पतालहरुमा चाहि हाल्छ । तर माथिल्लो तटीय बासिन्दा यस्तो काम गर्नबाट पनि प्रतिबन्धित हुन्छन् ।

यस पृष्ठभूमिमा आयोजना अवस्थित स्थान र माथिल्लो तटीय इलाका छुट्टाछुट्टै प्रान्तमा परेको अवस्थामा समस्या जटिल हुनजानेछ ।

नदीमा पानीको अभाव
यस अतिरिक्त नदी छेकेर नहर/सुरुङबाट आयोजनामा पानी लैजानाले नदीको एउटा भेग नैं पानी रहित हुनपुग्छ (सडक मार्गबाट पोखरा जांदा मस्र्याङदी नदीको यस्तो बेहाल टडकारो रुपमा देखापर्छ) र नदीको यस भेगको पानीमा निर्भर स्थानिय बासिन्दा परापूर्वकाल देखि आफूले प्रयोग गर्दै आएको पानीको उपयोग गर्नबाट बंचित हुन्छन् । यस्तो प्रतिकूल प्रभाव नदीको प्रवाहमा आधारित आयोजनाबाट मात्रै पर्ने नभएर जलाशययूक्त आयोजनाबाट अझ बढी पर्छ । यस्तोमा उत्पादित बिजुली अन्य प्रान्तमा उपयोग हुने भएमा आयोजना निर्माणको लागि स्थानिय जनता राजीहुने सम्भावना अत्यन्त न्यून हुन्छ र सम्भाव्यता अनुरुप जलबिद्युत उत्पादन गर्ने सम्भावना क्षीण हुन्छ ।

जलाशययुक्त बहुउद्देश्यीय आयोजना
नदीको प्रवाहमा आधारित आयोजना भन्दा जलाशययुक्त आयोजनाले स्थानिय जनतालाई अझ बढी प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पार्छ - काली गण्डकी ए आयोजनाले जस्तै नदीमा दिनभरी बगेको पानी संचय गरेर आवश्यक समयमा बिद्युत उत्पादन गर्नेले सापेक्ष रुपमा कम प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पार्दछ भने कुलेखानी जस्तो वर्षभरी परेको पानी संचय गर्ने आयोजनाले अत्यधिक प्रतिकूल प्रभाव पार्दछ । जलाशय निर्माण गिरंदा जग्गा जमिन, वन जंगल, वन्यजन्तु, पर्यटकीय स्थल, मन्दिर देवालय, स्थानिय पूर्वाधार समेत डुबानमा पर्नुको अतिरिक्त स्थानिय बासिन्दा बिस्थापित समेत हुन्छन् । यसरी ठूला जलाशययुक्त आयोजना निर्माण गरेर जलश्रोतको उपयोग गरेको अवस्थामा स्थानिय बासिन्दा लाभान्वित हुनुको सट्टा धेरै कुराबाट बंचित हुन्छन् । जुन अवस्थामा आयोजना निर्माण हुने प्रान्तका जनता आयोजना निर्माण प्रति सकारात्मक हुन कठिन हुनेछ ।

तल्लोतटीय लाभ
अर्कोतिर जलाशययुक्त आयोजनाको निर्माणबाट तल्लो तटीय क्षेत्रमा सुख्खायाममा समेत थप पानी उपलब्ध हुन्छ जुन खानेपानी सिचाई औद्योगिक प्रयोग जलाधारको सुधार आदिमा मात्र उपयोग नभई सुख्खायाममा निश्चित परिमाणमा पानी बग्नाले जलपरिवहन र जलक्रीडामा आधारित पर्यटकिय प्रयोग समेत भएर तल्लो तटीय क्षेत्र लाभान्वित हुन्छ । हाल चर्चामा रहेको प्रान्तिय संरचनामा जाने हो भने एक प्रान्तका नागरिकले डुबान तथा बिस्थापन ब्यहोर्न पर्ने हुन्छ त्यस भन्दा माथिको प्रान्तको बासिन्दाको पानीको उपभोग्य उपयोगमा प्रतिबन्ध लाग्दछ र आयोजना निर्मित प्रान्त भन्दा तल्लो तटीय प्रान्तका बासिन्दाले भने सुख्खायाममा समेत िसंचाईबाट लाभान्वित हुने अवस्था आउंछ । यस्तोमा माथिल्लो तटीय प्रान्त र डुबान एवं बिस्थापन व्यहोर्न पर्ने प्रान्तले जलाशययुक्त बहुउद्देश्यीय आयोजना निर्माणमा सहमत हुने सम्भावना एकदम न्यून हुन्छ ।

िसंचाईनेपालमा झण्डै ४० लाख हेक्टर खेतीयोग्य जमिन छ भन्ने तथ्यांक छ (ठूलो खण्ड तराईमा छ) भने ५ लाख हेक्टर (१३ प्रतिशत भन्दा कम) मात्र िसंचित छ, त्यो पनि अधिकांश वर्षातमा मात्र, जसले गर्दा धेरै जसो जमिनमा एक वाली मात्र राम्ररी खेती हुन्छ त्यो पनि मौसमले साथ दिएमा । यो वर्ष समयमा पानी नपरेकोले कतिपय जमिनमा राम्ररी रोपाईंको काम नैं भएको छैन । तर देशमा खाद्य सुरक्षा बहाल गर्न र नगदे वाली लगायत प्रबद्र्धन गरेर किसानलाई समृद्ध पार्न सुख्खायाममा समेत िसंचाई गरेर खेती गरिनु - कम्तीमा तीन बाली लगाइनु - वान्छनिय छ । यसको लागि जलाशय बनाएर वर्षायाम ४ महिनामा परेको पानी संचित गरेर बांकी ८ महिना पनि िसंचाई गर्नुपर्दछ । यस्तोमा तराई छुट्टै प्रान्त बनेमा जलाशययुक्त आयोजना निर्माण गर्दा माथिल्लो तटीय प्रान्त डुबानमा पर्छ भने िसंचाईको लाभ तल्लो तटीय प्रान्तले प्राप्त गर्ने हुनाले यस्तो आयोजना बन्ने सम्भावना कम हुन्छ ।

बाढी नियन्त्रण
जलाशय निर्माण गर्दा तल्लो तटीय क्षेत्रमा वर्षामा आउने बाढी पहिरो पनि नियन्त्रण हुन्छ । अर्थात माथिल्लो तटीय क्षेत्र डुबानमा पार्दा तल्लो तटीय क्षेत्रमा प्रभावकारी रुपमा बाढी पहिरो नियन्त्रण गर्न सकिन्छ । तर माथिल्लो तटीय क्षेत्रले धेरै मूल्य चुकाएर तल्लो तटीय क्षेत्रमा बाढी नियन्त्रण गर्न दुई बिभिन्न प्रान्तहरु सजिलै सहमत हुने सम्भावना हुन्न ।

अझ बढी मनमुटाव बढाउंछ बहुउद्देश्यीय आयोजनाबाट विस्थापित स्थानिय जनताको पुनर्वासको मुद्दाले । जलबिद्युत आयोजनको लागि जलाशय निर्माण समथर भूभागमा सम्भव हुन्न पहाडी संरचना आवश्यक हुन्छ । तर पहाडी भेगमा पुनर्वासको लागि आवश्यक जग्गा जमिनको अभाव हुन्छ भने आवश्यक जग्गा उपलब्ध हुने ठाउंमा जातिय सन्तुलन बिग्रने कारण दर्शाएर पुनर्वासको लागि सहमत हुन्नन् । पश्चिम तराईका थारुहरुले पश्चिम सेती आयोजनाबाट विस्थापितलाई आफ्नो भूभागमा पुनर्वास गराउन असहमति नैं जनाईसकेकाछन् । यस्तोमा छुट्टाछुट्टै प्रान्त गठन भईसके पछि अन्यत्र कतैका शहर बजारहरुमा उज्यालो छर्न, िसंचाईबाट लाभान्वित हुन माथिल्लो तटीय प्रान्तले आफ्नो भूभाग डुबाएर स्थानिय बासिन्दा विस्थापित गरेर जलाशययुक्त आयोजना निर्माण गर्न सहमत हुने सम्भावना हुन्न ।

नेपालका अधिकांश जिल्ला अाचल विकास क्षेत्रका सीमाना विभिन्न नदीहरुलाई बनाइएको छ र यसरी सीमांकन गर्ने परिपाटी नैं भई सकेकोछ । अझ प्रान्तहरुको सीमांकन पनि नदीमा आधारित भएमा दुई किनाराका प्रान्तहरुको दुई किसिमका आकांक्षा, आवश्यकता, प्राथमिकता हुने सम्भावना उच्च हुनाले बिबाद अझ घनिभूतरुपमा खडा हुन्छ जसले गर्दा समेत जलश्रोतको समुचित दोहन कष्टसाध्य हुनजान्छ ।

प्रान्तिय द्वन्द्व
प्रान्तिय द्वन्द्वको उदाहरणको लागि धेरै टाढा जानु पर्दैन, भारत, पाकिस्तानमा बिद्यमान यस सम्बन्धी प्रान्तियद्वन्द्व मात्र अवलोकन गरे पनि पुग्छ र संघियताको संघारमा पुग्न लागेका नेपालीको आंखा छिमेकमा बिद्यमान यस सम्बन्धी बिबादले मात्रै पनि खुल्नु पर्ने हो । पानीको बांडफांट सम्बन्धमा पंजाब र हरियाणा बीच बिबाद छ भने नर्मदा बिबादमा मध्य प्रदेश, महाराष्ट्र, गुजरात र राजस्थान संलग्न छन् । त्यस्तै तमिल नाडु र कर्णाटकता बीच काबेरी बिबादले उग्ररुप िलंदा अपेक्षातितरुपमा काम भएकोछैन । अझ गंगा नदीमा कानपुरमा आयोजना निर्माण गर्ने उत्तर प्रदेशको अवधारणा बिहारको बिरोधको कारणले काजगमा मात्रै सीमित रहेको अवस्था छ । भारतीय संबिधान अनुसार जलश्रोत प्रान्तिय मामला मानिन्छ तर धेरै प्रान्त भई बग्ने नदीहरुको सम्बन्धमा केन्द्रलाई विधायिकि अधिकार प्राप्त छ तर पनि द्वन्द्व निराकरण भने सरल भएन । तथापि भारतको भूभाग ठूलो हुनाले संघियता जायजै मान्न सकिएला तर भारतको एक प्रान्त भन्दा पनि सानो वा प्रान्त जत्रो नेपाललाई अझ ससाना प्रान्तमा बिभाजन गर्दा जलश्रोतका समुचित दोहनमा बिभिन्न प्रान्त बीचको बिबादले धेरै नैं अवरोध पुर् याउने देखिन्छ । पाकिस्तानमा पनि पंजाब र सिन्ध बीच कालाबाग आयोजना बनाउने र नबनाउने बिबाद चुलिएकोछ समाधान देखापरेको छैन ।

कोशी देखि गण्डकी टनकपुर हुंदै महाकाली सन्धी सम्मको यात्रामा नेपालले धेरै गुमाईसकेको अवस्था छ । यो कृयाकलाप नेपालमा संघियता लागू हुनुभन्दा अगाडी भएको हो । तर एक पटक नेपाल विभिन्न प्रान्तहरुमा विभाजित भएपछि यी प्रान्तहरु नैं आपसमा द्वन्द्वरत रहने भएकोले मित्र राष्ट्रसंग सन्धी सम्झौता गर्दा अझ बढी गुमाउने अवस्था आउनेछ । नेपाल भित्रका बिभिन्न प्रान्तलाई जुधाएर लडाएर कोशी, गण्डकी, महाकाली पुनराबृत्ति गर्ने अभिष्ट पनि पूरा हुने अवस्था बन्न सक्छ । सम्झन के जरुरी छ भने एउटा पाउरोटी कसरी बांड्ने भन्ने बारे दुई बिरालो बीच बिबाद उठ्दा तराजुमा जोखेर बराबर बांड्ने अग्रसरता देखाउने बांदरले अलिअलि गरेर पूरै पाउरोटी आफैले खाएरसकाएको कथा चरितार्थ हुने ठूलो जोखिम संघियतामा गएपछि खडा हुनेछ ।

संघियतामा जलश्रोतको उच्चतम दोहन (optimum exploitation) मा धेरै अवरोध आउने देखिनाले सकेसम्म यति सानो मुलुकलाई संघियताको नाममा बिभिन्न प्रान्तमा बिखण्डन गरिनुहुन्न ।

देशलाई संघियतामा पुनःसंरचना नगरिनहुने अवस्था आइपरेमा कोशी, गण्डकी, कर्णाली जस्ता मूख्य नदीहरुको जलाधार क्षेत्र (river basin)को आधारमा सीमित प्रान्तहरु मात्र बनाइनुपर्छ । यस्तो अवस्थामा मात्र प्रत्येक नदीको उच्चतम दोहन सम्भव हुन्छ । आफ्नो प्रान्त भित्रको नदीको के कसरी उच्चतम दोहन गर्ने सम्बन्धमा निर्णय निरोपण गर्ने अधिकार सम्बन्धित प्रान्तमा रहनेछ । नेपालको भौगोलिक संरचनाको कारणले नदीहरुको जलाधार क्षेत्रको आधारमा सीमित प्रान्तहरु बनेमा दुई बिभिन्न प्रान्तहरु बीच बिबाद हुने सम्भावना न्यून हुन्छ बिबाद समाधानको आवश्यकता पनि हुन्न ।

अहिले नेपाल भित्र वा बाहिर जहांको पनि ब्यक्ति वा संगठित संस्थाले नदीको दोहन गर्न अनुमतिपत्र प्राप्त गरेर ओगटेर राख्ने परिपाटी बिकास भएकोछ । यसले गर्दा स्थानिय जनता आफ्नै घर दैलो भएर बग्ने नदीको दोहन गर्ने अवसरबाट बिमुख भएको अवस्था छ । तसर्थ यस सम्बन्धमा दुई हिसाबले सुधार गर्न हुन वान्छनिय छ । अनुमतिपत्र प्राप्त गर्न स्थानिय बासिन्दालाई अग्राधिकार हुनुपर्छ र आयोजना कार्यान्वयन गर्न आवश्यक वित्तिय जोहो गर्ने हैसियत नभएका स्थानिय बासिन्दा लगायतलाई अनुमतिपत्र दिइनु हुन्न । यसले गर्दा जलश्रोतमा लगानि गरेर लाभान्वित हुने मौकाबाट स्थानिय जनता बंचित हुनेछैनन् र अनुमतिपत्रको दलाली गरेर धनी बन्ने सपना देख्नेहरुको अभिष्ट पनि सफल हुनेछैन । अर्कोतिर अनुमतिपत्रहरु हजारौ।हजार मेगावाटको जारी भएपनि आयोजना निर्माणको अभावमा देशले बिद्युत संकटको सामना पनि गर्न पर्ने थिएन । निर्माण हुने आयोजनामा स्थानिय जनताले लगानि गरेको अवस्थामा स्थानिय जनताले आयोजनामा अपनत्व पनि महसूस गर्छन् र स्थानिय जनताको नाममा कार्यान्वयनमा आउने अवरोधको समस्या पनि निराकरण हुन्छ ।

जलश्रोतमा आधारित आयोजनाहरु पूंजीप्रधान हुने हुनाले यस्ता आयोजनाबाट उच्च दरमा रोयल्टी असूल गर्ने सम्भावना हुन्न, त्यो पनि ऋणमा सांवा ब्याज चुक्ता नभए सम्म । तसर्थ रोयल्टी जस्ता दैदस्तूर प्राप्त गर्ने अधिकार सम्बन्धित प्रान्तमा निहित राखिनुपर्छ र यो रकम ग्रामिण बिद्युतिकरण िसंचाईको लागि नहर प्रणाली निर्माण गर्ने जस्ता काममा मात्र खर्च गर्न पाउने व्यवस्था पनि हुनुपर्छ ।

पुछारमानेपाल सरकारले मध्य पश्चिमााचल र सुदूर पश्चिमााचल विकाश क्षेत्रमा नयां विश्वबिद्यालय स्थापना गर्ने घोषणा गर्दा कुन शहरमा खोलिनुपर्छ भन्ने बिबाद चर्केको धेरैलाई अवश्य पनि सम्झना हुनै पर्छ । नेपाललाई बिभिन्न प्रान्तमा बिखण्डन गरे पछि प्रान्तिय राजधानी कहाँ राख्ने भन्ने विषय पनि बिबाद मुक्त हुने अपेक्षा राख्नु बालसुलभता मात्र ठहरिनेछ । यो बिबाद समाधान गर्न सरल हुनेछैन र नेपाललाई पुनःसंरचना गर्नुपर्ने पैरबी गर्नेहरुले यसतर्फ पनि अहिले देखि नैं गृहकार्य गर्न अत्यावश्यक छ ।
Ratna Sansar Shrestha
This paper was presented to the memebrs of Constituent Assembly on 14th September 2009 at IUCN.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Federalism relative to size

I don’t think those who advocate federalism are absolutely wrong. Federalism has its own merits. However, the important issue is of quantum of dose of an effective medicine. Penicillin and antibiotic are very important medical inventions. Administered in x (specific) quantum, the health of a big mammal can be restored. But if same medicine is administered to a small baby in same quantum the baby will simply not survive. Therefore, it is the matter of relativity. To paraphrase, right medicine, in right quantity at the right time heals but …


August 19, 2009
Mr Tilak Shrestha
Dear Tilak ju


Good to hear from you.

I agreewith you but the problem is that the leaders don't pay attention. Rather they dwell in self gratification (Atma Rati) and brand people like me anti development for saying out loud that the "emperor is naked."

I don't feel that highly confident about the so called alternative to Melamchi. The one I have heard is based on rain water harvesting. As it is, it is good idea. But I see a couple of problems in it. One, we will have problem finding land to build reservoirs around Kathmandu valley, with price of land escalating so steeply. Besides, there is no more land available as even land just below the hills surrounding Kathmandu valley has already been lost to construction. Another sub idea I heard was using rain water to recharge "wells". This too is excellent idea. But the problem I see is energy crisis that is going to last at least another decade, as we will need a lot of electricity to pump up groundwater. Even now KUKL is having problem (mainly in dry season) extracting ground water to supply to its consumers due to electivity shortage.

I am committed to Multipurpose Melamchi. Which will not only make more than 1 billion liters of water available for Kathmnadu valley in the dry season by gravity flow (no need for electricity to pump up) but give a new lease of life to our Bagmati River. Besides, under this concept 265 MW of electricity also could be generated. The most beautiful part of this concept is that more than 30,000 hectares of land in Terai could be irrigated in the dry season. This is a project that will bond Himal, Pahad, Kathmandu valley as well as Terai.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: [] On Behalf Of Tilak Shrestha
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 21:01
Subject: [NESOCA Mail #2881] Re: Mirage of illusionary benefit of Rs 45 billion from Pancheshwar Project

Ratna Ju


Thanks for the eye opening article. I hope our leaders pay attention to it, at least be warned. As I wrote before I am curious about alternative to the Melamchee project. One non-technical person told me about the talk going in kathmandu that instead of Melamchee, perhaps small but many projects within valley is actually better. I really do not know much, but like to hear from you. I was thinking in terms of cost, environment, long term effects.


Tilak Shrestha

To: ;
Subject: [NESOCA Mail #2868] Fw: Mirage of illusionary benefit of Rs 45 billion from Pancheshwar Project
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2009 12:02:47 +0545

Mr. D. B. Singh
Project Chief
Pancheshwar Project

Friday, September 11, 2009

Re: Fwd: Fw: My article on federalism

August 24, 2009
Mr B Shrestha
Nobody arrives in this world full of knowledge. Education itself is enriching one’s knowledge from another’s experience and exposure. All the books we read are based on experience and exposure of other people. I can say this definitively as I have been teaching for almost 40 years. I fully agree that nobody should be misguided to think that what that person knows “is the only truth in the world.” On the other hand people also need to know how to relate what s/he has learnt from others to the ground reality. No truth is absolute truth as things tend to be different based on time, place and circumstance. Finally, knowledge is dynamic, not static and, therefore, a person needs to learn to temper what s/he has learnt based on time, place and circumstance.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha,

From: [] On Behalf Of B. Shrestha
Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2009 17:20
Subject: [NESOCA Mail #2950] Re: Fwd: Fw: My article on federalism

I believe in learning things from others’ experiences too. If you think it is wrong to take lessons from others’ experiences but you think what you know and believe is the only truth in the world then I have nothing add.

On Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 11:04 AM, Baburaja Shakya <> wrote:

रत्नसंसारज्यूको स्पष्ट र मुखभरीको जवाफले धेरैजनाको चित्त बुझाएको हुनुपर्छ। अरुको भनाईको आधारमा आफुलाई सहि साबित गर्न खोज्नु वौद्धिक दिवालियापन हो। बाबुराजा

Subject: [NESOCA Mail #2936] Re: Fwd: Fw: My article on federalism
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 06:59:49 +0545

I know Mahendra Lawoti very well and do read his writings. The last I heard of, he was settled aboard. I am not aware if he has come back. Excuse my ignorance.

Two things I don’t do. One, dignify the allegation of being “followers of Khas chauvinists” by responding to it. Two, I don’t form my opinion based on what others say, whether such things are “illusive myth” or not. I say and write based on what I see, experience and feel.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

Re: My article on federalism

August 23, 2009
Mr Prkash Shrestha

Thanks for the solidarity. I would like to add one sentence. Newa identity is like the fish that will not survive outside the water which is this motherland. If one is to look around except for few cultural activities like Teej most of the major cultural events of Nepal are based on Newa culture. Similarly, what is famed as Nepali architecture is actually Newa architecture. Therefore, it is in Newa interest to ensure that our motherland (Nepal) doesn’t disintegrate. Even the name Nepal is borrowed from us by the Khas people, if people were to care to remember. Khas people from Gorkha conquered “Nepal”. Generally the conquers annex the vanquished territory in their nation. But Gorkha conquers annexed everything including their own kingdom Gorkha into Nepal.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: prakash shrestha []
Sent: Saturday, August 22, 2009 18:15
Cc: nesocamails@googlegroups.comSubject: Re: [NESOCA Mail #2923]
Re: My article on federalism

Ratna Sansarju,

I totally agree with you if Nepal cannot exist, our identity cannot exist. Therefore, we must save Nepal from being torn apart into pieces in the name of culture, language and ethnicity.We all must put national interest first than ethnicities. Let's stand we all against to those, either the people of left or right, who wished to see our small country be divided into pieces based upon ethnicity and language. We should not be afraid to speak out what our heart and ethic say. People may call us anti-newa, pro-khas, mandale, pro-Panchayet era, you are riding wrong horse, etc. etc. Ignore such distractions, noises and allegations to speak the truth and reality to save our nation from weakening and breaking-up before it gets too late. And more importantly their allegations are not true.



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Re: your views on hydropower

August 19, 2009

Mr Kul Chandra Gautam
Former Dy Secretary General, UN

Dear Kul Chandrajee

Good to hear from you and thanks for you encouraging words.

I think you have misunderstood me in your inferring that I am "opposed to all mega projects". I too remember the people you have listed who were advocating "small is beautiful" development approach. I am not with them at all, if you know what I mean. I am for projects, big or small, that will in reality help Nepal, due to various linkages like backward, forward, investment as well as fiscal linkages.

I also disagree with you that I don't offer my own alternativecounter-proposals. Firstly, if you have drawn this conclusion after reading articles published in dailies which limit my articulation due to space constraint then you are doing injustice to me. By doing the critical appraisal, I am giving suggestion too if one is to read between lines.

I am afforded better opportunity to do so when I publish in journals. For example, in the current issue of Hydro Nepal I have clearly sketched out how should West Seti project be structured, you may even be able to access it through Internet. I am happy to note that I was invited by the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament last Sunday to deliver a talk on how should west seti project be structured in the interest of Nepal. It was a successful program.

I am very happy to hear from you and all constructive suggestions are welcome.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

From: Kul Gautam []
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 18:36
To: ratna sansar shrestha
Subject: your views on hydropower

dear ratna sansarji,

i have been reading some of your articles, write-ups and commentaries on the subject of hydro-electricity, water resources, etc. in the nnsd web blog, various newspapers, and other e-mail exchanges.

i find your analyses and arguments very thorough and thoughtful. i want to congratulate you for injecting much needed analytical rigour on so many very superficial proposals and wishful assumptions.

having said that, one does get the impression from the thrust of your writing that you seem instinctively opposed to all mega projects and are very skillful in questioning and challenging other people's proposals but do not quite offer your own alternative counter-proposals.

there was a time when many of us were fascinated by the "small is beautiful" development approach. that approach still has much intellectual appeal, and many populist environmental activists continue to advocate that approach as sacrosanct. but the world has moved on and learning from the experiences of many countries many of us have now become quite pragmatic and open to a variety of approaches - including carefully thought-out mega projects.

in the case of nepal, i have always been very impressed by the writings and perspectives of professionals like yourself, dipak gyawali, bikash pandey, gopal siwakoti chintan, etc. i have often felt sorry and puzzled that nepal's policy-makers and our donor partners do not seem to consult you and take your views seriously. that is a great pity.

i am sure you have done much introspection as to why your good analysis and advice are often ignored by people in positions of power. yes, i am sure there is a combination of incompetence, selfishness, vested interests, etc. but i also note that there are many highly intelligent and competent professionals and politicians who, like you and i, are deeply committed to defending the best interest of the nation, who tend to ignore or reject your analyses and advice.

what non-partisan development professionals with an open-mind like me would like to see is for folks like yourself, dipak gyawali, bikas pandey, etc. to come out with your own ambitious alternative blueprint for hydropower development in nepal so that the debate shifts from what is wrong with current proposals for pancheswor, west seti, arun iii, melamchi, etc. to what could be a better alternative vision and masterplan for water resources development in nepal that would both be instrumental in dramatically accelerating nepal's economic development, while resonating well with the current global concern for coping with climate change. one would also like to see proposals that demonstrate win-win proposals in which both nepal and our neighbours, especially india can benefit equitably rather than having to be always fearful that nepal needs to guard against being cheated and taken for a ride by our neighbours. if we can come up with such proposals, i would hope that we could get some of our donor partners to be supportive. afterall not all donors have a vested interest in cheating nepal, many are genuinely interested in supporting nepal.

perhaps such proposals already exist, and i may not have seen them. but i do feel sincerely that we owe it to the nepali people to come up with better alternative proposals rather than being seen as permanent dissidents who always find faults with all ambitious proposals put forth by nc, uml, maoist governments and by our bureaucracy.

please take this as a constructive suggestion by someone who admires your professionalism and commitment to nepal's genuine development.

with best regards,

kul g
Kul Chandra Gautam

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

UML and Mahakali Treaty

September 5, 2009
Er Sagar Gnawali

Sagar Bhai

I really do become disheartened to learn of your party’s view and it is no wonder that this country is suffering as such. However, there is consolation in the fact that there are people like Pradip Nepal who understand things better. He has written a number of articles in newspapers denouncing Mahakali treaty. I am responding to each of your points below. I hope you will dare to go back and tell those people in your party what is correct and what is not.

1. Catchment area doesn’t decide who does a river belong to. I am surprised that they are happy to surrender our own Mahakali river in the name of catchment area. If that principle is valid then most of the rivers in northern part of USA will belong to Canada. To take an example closer to home, by that logic river Brahmaputra will belong to China as its 75% catchment area is in China.

Sugauli treaty, signed in 1816, is very clear and you should ask your party people to read it, instead of exhibiting their ignorance as such. Nepal’s western boundary was Sutlaj River, now in Pakistan and India, before we were defeated in war with British colonizers in India that ended in 1816. Nepal was forced to sign this treaty giving up claims on land west of this river. Mark those words, we had given up claims to land “west of Kali river”, and the river wasn't declared a boundary river (Sajha!).

Thus, even under this dishonorable treaty this river belonged to Nepal fully. But your party leader Madhav Nepal took the initiative to sign Mahakali treaty under a so called “package” deal and committed treason by declaring this river a border river, limiting Nepal’s right to water to just 50%.

Another level of treason was committed by arranging to irrigate only 3.5% land in Nepal and 96.5% in India, under Mahakali treaty. I take it you will be able to find in the traty that, although declared a border river, entitling Nepal to half water, we ended up with just 3.5%. Therefore, those people are traitors.

2. You should read Mahakali treaty for yourself and decide; not run after crow when someone tells you that your ear has been stolen by a crow. I have attached it for your benefit so that you don’t become a clone of the likes of Madhav Nepal. Under sub article 3 of article 3, each country is entitled to electricity based on investment. Therefore, if India invests 60% then they will take 60% electricity. It’s highly foolish to be happy with such provision. If we have money we can take the benefit by investing in hydropower anywhere, in Nepal or outside Nepal. In order to benefit from investment we don’t even need to invest in hydropower, we can set up shoe factory or whatever. Therefore, don’t get carried away by what the likes of DB Singh say. Last Thursday, Radio Sagarmatha organized a program on Pancheshwar with me and him but he refused to attend the program with me. I have challenged him several times publicly (on television too), but he has not dared to contradict me. I have sent several emails to him contradicting his contentions but he has not reverted back to me.

3. You sound happy that India has agreed to “allow” us to irrigate 96,000 hectares of land when they are going to irrigate 1.6 million hectares. If Nepal is entitled to 50%, then Nepal should be irrigating over 800,000 hectares instead of just 96,000 hectares. This is anohter clear case of treason.

As an engineer you should be able to figure out that for the Pancheshwar project Nepal will have to sacrifice over 8,700 hectares of land which is 43% of the total submergence. Then logically Nepal is entitled to at least 43% water from the reservoir. Therefore, by agreeing to inundate 43% land to irrigate under 5% land, those people are committing treason at another level. Conversely, if Nepal is to irrigate just 5% land (96,000 hectares) then we should have to sacrifice only 5% land in submergence, instead of 43%.

I hope the above is clear to you. By the way I met your party leader and PM of this unfortunate country Madhav Nepal last Wednesday to discuss Pancheshwar project.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha, fca
Senior Water Resource Analyst

-----Original Message-----
From: sagar gnawali []
Sent: Friday, September 4, 2009 12:57
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Mirage of illusionary benefit of Rs 45 billion from Pancheshwar Project

Ratna Sir,

I am learning many things with your close interaction. I have little bit different voice then you in the subject of Mahakali Treaty and Pancheshowr. I request you take this as a question to his GURU by his CHELO(?). I should belive in trouth, so that this mission is towards trouth. You couldn't tell me that I am the member of CPN UML so that I can't go against the views of my party.

1. More then 60% catchment area of Mahakali river is lies in india. Then How we call tell that the full authority of Mahakali river is with in us showing Sugauli Sandhi?

2. The 60% investment is in the part of india, and most of the land to be sinking lies in India( I looked the documents by ER. singh) but the electricity is divided at same ratio. Is this is not beneficial to us?

3. The main concerns of us is water division. I heard that Our land to be cultivated is 96 Thousand hector. And India is ready for that.

I just started studying these documents curiously. I had read various articles in Newspaper.
It is my first step of being Future Ratna Sansar Shrestha. I am feeling happy to take a discussion with you with different openion in
same subject.


Sagar Gnawali
Our Technology: Prosperous Nepal
Mobile No. 0977-9841803113

Monday, September 7, 2009

Re: federalism - jumping the gun

September 6, 2009
Mr Chiran S Thapa
Naxal, Kathmandu

Dear Chiranjee

What we need is more of interactive discussions like this in order to ensure that we don’t take the country down the Yugoslavia path. I have come to note that aspirations of ethnic federalism whetted by Maoists has started to snowball in the way they didn’t expect (I hope it wasn’t in their design to end up with mayhem in the country by such an action on their part!) but they never meant what Dr Bhattachan is now aggressively propagating and some Newa and other ethnic communities are asking for (evidence of which lies in the fact that Maoists ethnic outfits are headed by people from different ethnic communities, mainly Bahuns).

Affirmative action, that you are recommending, is what we would need for an initial period of 5-10 years, to address problems of this generation. The best antidote for exclusion of future generations lies in providing opportunity to learn (quality education) to all downtrodden at state cost.

However, what is urgently required is to expose people like Dr Bhattachan who has to resort to foul language and unbecoming words to make his point – I am not too sure if he made his point last Thursday, though.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha, fca
Senior Water Resource Analyst

-----Original Message-----

From: C.S. Thapa [] On Behalf Of C.S. Thapa
Sent: Sunday, September 6, 2009 5:18
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: Fw: Article in Nepali Times # 467

dear Ratnaji,

It appears both from the Forum presentations on Thursday and your article that a common-sense approach would give regional and/or national rights to say the largest ten communities - the Chhetris, the hill Brahmans, the Magars, the Tharus, the Tamangs, the Newars, etc. but require that the "minorities" have affirmative rights not with preferences but with tougher conditions for the majority communities, for example Brahmins and Newars would have to have higher degrees and better academic performance in the national and local civil services and Chhetris would have tougher entry requirements in the National Army - just to cite one way toward mitigation of the problem. The other 49 communities would have local, district or
smaller geopgraphical space commensurate with their population numbers. The country has grown from a population of six million in 1951 to 30 million in about sixty years. some communities provide critical mass for autonomy but this requires collaborative solutions and less confrontational polemics and rights-demanding threats.



On Sep 4 2009, Ratna Sansar Shrestha wrote:

>Jumping the gun
>Federalism is fraught with potential failure

RE: Article in Nepali Times # 467

From: Kul Gautam []
Sent: Saturday, September 5, 2009 10:36
To: ratna sansar shrestha
Subject: RE: Article in Nepali Times # 467

dear ratna sansarji,

a very simply and beautifully expressed article.

thank you.

kul g
Kul Chandra Gautam


To: ;
Subject: Fw: Article in Nepali Times # 467
Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 13:27:49 +0545
Jumping the gun

Federalism is fraught with potential failure

Friday, September 4, 2009

Federalism is fraught with potential failure

Jumping the gun

The elected Constituent Assembly is supposed to write constitution. But we jumped the gun. The commission tasked to write the interim constitution declared the country a federal republic before CA members had a chance to debate its merits.

We need to step back and take a fresh look at the problems involved, not least because the commission doesn’t have the right to preempt the popularly elected CA.

For one, the proposed ethnic federalist model impinges on a citizen’s right to equal access to national resources since it grants communities special rights to provincial forests, mines, rivers and so forth. This pits communities directly against one another since it encourages them to undercut one another’s rights.

The recent cold-blooded murder of 7 yarshagumba harvesters from Gorkha by a local community in Manangi prefigures the devastating consequences a federal arrangement could have. It could also set off a wave of internal migration and displacement, as we’ve already seen in the Tarai.

Second, the proposal to entitle particular ethnic groups to the exclusive leadership of particular provinces could take the country down the Yugoslavia path. Take the proposed Newa province in Kathmandu Valley. Since only 45 per cent of the valley is Newari, the majority will perpetually be led by a minority. If the valley’s 11 adjoining districts were included in the province, then 25 percent would rule the rest. This will also require the government to split up territory that many groups claim, which could set off race riots.

Third, federalism will be very costly since it will create many more high offices of state to be filled with pompous personalities. We already have a president who likes stopping traffic when he’s on the road, and a trouble-making vice president who puts even our ex-crown prince to shame. Federalism will elevate more people like this to the posts of governors and ministers at the provincial level. The question is: do taxpayers really want to shoulder this extra administrative burden?

Finally, federalism in itself won’t accomplish what it sets out to do: empower ethnic and marginalized communities. The unitary structure at the provincial level will continue to leave some groups out of power. It will add one more layer of politicos to the bureaucracy who will leach off money that’s supposed to help people. Already, less than half of the money slated for development work actually reaches the people. Provincial federalism could exacerbate this tendency. Instead, we should devolve power to the grassroots level and skirt the provinces. This way, there will be less corruption and greater representation.

Federalism has its merits, of course, but it’s dangerous at the doses we’re recommending. The right medicine, at the right time, at the right level will work. No more, no less.

We need to discuss federalism in more detail and rejecting it doesn’t mean less representation. Take the demand for a Newa province as an example once more. If one is to look around, many of the major cultural celebrations of Nepal are based on Newa culture. Similarly, what is famed as Nepali architecture is actually Newa architecture. Therefore it is in the Newa interest to ensure that our motherland, Nepal, doesn’t disintegrate due to problems with the proposed federal structure.

Newa identity is like a fish that will not survive outside water, in this case, our motherland. The same could be said of all of Nepal’s ethnicities, scattered as they are across the country. It is just not worthwhile to split this country along ethnic lines.

Published in Nepali Times # 467 (4-10 September 2009)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kathmandu and federalism

August 27, 2009
Mr Hari Thapa

Dear Harijee

I am glad we are having this discourse. But after reading your response below, I am getting the impression that you want to blame Kathmandu no matter what. Reminds me of a story I read when I was small in which the tiger (or some other carnivorous animal) blames a lamb drinking water in the downstream area for polluting the water. When the meek lamb points out the anomaly, everyone knows what answer is given. In the similar vein, it sounds as if the soil of this area is to be blamed or rather the wind that blows here. People could even try to blame the water but water no more flows in the rivers in Kathmandu, rather raw sewage flows here.

On another plane, even if one is to accept that Kathmandu is responsible for anything and everything, adopting federal structure to mitigate the problem is like a proverb where a wife does something unseeingly on her husband's lap because she was angry with her husband's second wife.

I am not too sure what do you mean by "We cannot satisfy our ego just blaming the past." I would like to believe that people are not recommending federal structure just to satisfy their ego. What we need to do is to address/mitigate the problem of exclusion that exists not only outside Kathmandu valley and remote areas, but in Kathmandu too which you are blaming for all the extant ills.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 12:35
To: Ratna Sansar Shrestha
Subject: Re: Fwd: Fw: [NESOCA Mail #2943] Re: Fwd: Fw: My article on federalism

Dear Ratna Sansar Sir,

Kathmandu used all the places as you mentioned as its tools to rule. The
people which acted as a ruler made their base is in Kathmandu. They all
worked to flourish Kathmandu's prosperity and popularity. Kathmandu
decides everything. We are asking federalism with those rulars whose mind
and soul is in Kathmandu and their body is in Biratnagar, Gorkha, Pyuthan,
Chitwan, Dhankuta, Dadeldhura and so on. And their masters are in China or
in India or in USA.

Kathmandu cannot carry the burden of whole country. It should be generous
towards general people living in the mountain, hills and terai.

We cannot satisfy our ego just blaming the past.

People which are still dreaming to see Kathmandu and people which has to
bring their beloved one to let die laying in the cold floor of Bir
Hospital or people which has to wait many weeks if not months for supreme
or uplift courts decisions, they should be kept in mind while talking
about federalism. Elite, business class and brokers doesn't need
federalism. They are fine here. And cannot see difference in their living
standard after federalism too.

So it is to go for federalism in real sense. Hopefully local politician
will overtaker their bosses in Kathamandu.

Thank you for your generous opinion.

Hari Thapa

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fw: My article on federalism

August 26, 2009
Mr. Hari Thapa


I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you that people have "already suffered from Kathmandu's totalitarianism", if only that was true. I even wonder if Kathmandu did ever get to rule over Nepal subsequent to its "unification" by rulers from Gorkha. Till monarchy was abolished, Nepal was ruled by erstwhile monarchs hailing from Gorkha who ruled (merely reigned most of the time) for close to 240 years and they did so, physically, from Kathmandu. They had merely shifted their capital from Gorkha to this valley. Therefore, for those 240 years it was effectively rule of Gorkha, if one is to go on this tangent on ethnic lines. Of these 240 years Ranas (actually Kunwars) were the effective rulers for 104 years and the Shahs were relegated to merely reigning the country. I am at a loss as to whether this period should be called a totalitarianism of Gorkha or else. Tyrants they were as it was a dictatorship of one particular family. Then there were Pandeys, Thapas, Basnets, and so on and so forth. I am not too sure about their root too (I am, I must admit, weak in history). After autocracy of Ranas was overthrown, we had a brief spell of "democracy" in early 60s but during that time Nepal was ruled by Biratnagar, then we had Panchayat democracy which basically meant the Gorkha rule got reinstated, till 1990. I shouldn't forget that once under Shah monarch's Panchayat system, Marich Man Singh did get to occupy the prime ministerial chair. I am given to understand that he was from Salyan. However, after addition of Shrestha suffix in his name, it may be claimed that Kathmandu did get to become a sub-ruler at the fag end of Panchayat system.

After people's movement of 1990 it was Biratnagar ruling Nepal for over 10 years out of about a dozen yeas and Dhankuta and Baitadi too did get to rule by turn for brief periods. And after abolition of monarchy Chitwan (rather Kaski) along with Bardiya did get to rule for 9 months and now Rautahat is taking its turn to rule in conjunction with Morang/Sunsari.

Therefore, all these years all these people ruled Nepal albeit from Kathmandu. But, it is not justifiable to blame Kathmandu for the tyranny of people from different parts of Nepal, merely because they did so from Kathmandu. From this tangent the solution may lie in simply shifting the capital instead of splitting this tiny country into small provinces. In other words, if this is the only reason for going federal, then we should look somewhere else to mitigate the problem.

PS: Please watch Nepal Television tomorrow morning at 8:25 AM.

With best regards,


Ratna Sansar Shrestha,

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 13:03
To: Lal Bahadur Thapa
Cc: Ratna Sansar Shrestha;;
Subject: Re: Fwd: Fw: [NESOCA Mail #2943] Re: Fwd: Fw: My article on federalism

Federalism is highly needed. Kathmandu cannot rule over the country. So
called leaders which has land and house and soul in Kathmandu cannot work
for federalism. It was Maoists movement that worked on ethnic based
concept. We all need to be generous and work on practical concept. We
already suffered from Kathmandu's totalitarianism. We cannot accept
another form of totalitarian group or regional idea that will dominate
other ethnic or region's existence.

Nobody should think that if the country goes to federalism and it will
divided. Federalism is not Kathmandu's demand. People which represents
Nepal should advocate this issue. Elite living in Kathmandu doesn't like
the concept. I hope Maoist won't loose their faith from their fundamental

Hari Thapa

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

West Seti Hydropower Project: Assessment of its Contribution to Nepal’s Economic Development


West Seti project, 750 MW, is one of the best projects of its genre, because it not only generates peak-in energy – good quality power – but also does so at low cost and its implementation, further, results in flood control and dry season augmented flow for lower riparian areas. Moreover, export of hydropower to India from this project results in carbon offset benefit which is tradable in the carbon market and has potential as a good source of revenue. This paper has evaluated such benefits and also ascertained to whom such benefits accrue to, besides identifying costs, so far unaccounted for, and the incidence thereof. This project’s contribution to Nepal’s economic development could have been higher by a magnitude, if it is to be structured as suggested in this paper.

Key words: West Seti, carbon offset, downstream benefit, economic development, export, hydropower, peak-in power, Nepal

According to “Environmental Assessment Report of West Seti Hydroelectric Project,” prepared by West Seti Hydro Limited (WSH 2007), the proposed West Seti Project, 750 MW “will generate and export large quantities of electrical energy to India under a power purchase agreement with PTC (India) Limited, which will in turn sell the power within the northern region of India. Under the terms of the 1997 project agreement between WSH and the Government of Nepal, the Government receives revenue from the sale of power through energy and capacity royalties. In addition, the project agreement incorporates an agreement whereby the Government could receive 10% of the output of the power station as free power or 10% of the revenue received under the terms of the power purchase agreement in lieu of free power. The Government chose the latter option[1]. The Project will generate electrical energy throughout the year, storing excess wet season river flows and utilizing this water to generate energy during peak demand periods in the dry season.”

The Project is a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) scheme, through which WSH will be granted a 30-year generating license that will provide about 24.5 years of generation before full ownership of the Project is handed over to the Government. To further quote from the same report: “The power purchase agreement has a 25-year term from the date the Project starts commercial operation. The tariff will be on a take-or-pay basis and comprise (i) off-peak energy rate, (ii) peak energy rate, and (iii) excess energy rate. The average tariff will be $0.04.95/kilowatt-hour at the point of delivery on the Nepal-India border.”

The Project is located on the Seti River in the Far Western Development Region of Nepal. The report further states that: “The dam site is located 82 kilometers (km) upstream of the confluence of the Seti and Karnali rivers, forming part of the Ganges basin. The project sites are located in the Middle Mountains, at elevations ranging from 550 to 920 meters (m) and spanning six districts. All project sites, excluding the reservoir area and transmission line corridor, are located in Doti and/or Dadeldhura districts. The reservoir is also located in Baitadi and Bajhang districts, and the transmission line corridor crosses Doti, Dadeldhura, Kailali, and Kanchanpur districts. The project area is accessed by road from the East–West Highway via the Mahakali Rajmarg (H14) and Seti Rajmarg (H15) National Highways, a distance of 139 km.”

“The Project consists of four Francis-type vertical-shaft turbines connected to four alternators, each with an output of 187.5 MW at the rated net head. This storage scheme is designed primarily to generate peaking power. The plant is expected to be operated to achieve a target minimum generation of 6 hours per day. The average annual electricity production will total about 3,636 gigawatt-hours (GWh). The main project features are a 195 m high concrete faced rock-fill dam, 2,060 hectare (ha) reservoir area, 6.7 km headrace tunnel, underground power station, 620 m tailrace tunnel, re-regulation weir, switchyard, 20.3 km permanent access roads, and 132.5 km 400 kilovolt (kV) double-circuit transmission line in Nepal.”

“The Project will generate power from a head of 259 m, created by running the headrace tunnel across a river bend of the Seti River and thus diverting water around a 19.2 km river section. The reservoir will fill during the monsoon season (mid June to late September/early October), and then water will be drawn down to generate power at peak times each day during the dry season. The reservoir will inundate 25.1 km of the Seti River and a total of 28.0 km of five main tributaries (Chama Gad, Dhung Gad, Saili Gad, Nawaghar Gad, and Kalanga Gad). The reservoir will have a total storage capacity of 1,566 million cubic meters (m3) (926 million m3 of live storage and 640 million m3 of dead storage) and a drawdown range of 59 m (from the full supply level to minimum operating level). The peak generation flow will be 330 m3/s.”

In order to assess the contribution of this project to Nepal’s economy, an analysis of its benefits, costs and the allocation of thereof is called for; which is the very purpose of this article. In the meantime this paper will also assess percolation coefficient of the project. Higher coefficient indicates percolation of funds into Nepal’s economy at a higher level which contributes to Nepal’s economic development to the commensurate extent.

Part I: Benefits

This project is one of the best projects of its genre. It generates good quality power – the peak-in energy, that too at low cost even though it is a project with reservoir, building which is a costly affair. Further, its implementation results in flood control as well as dry season augmented flow for lower riparian areas. Moreover, export of hydropower to India from this project results in carbon offset benefit which is tradable in the carbon market and has potential as a good source of revenue.

Power BenefitEven for run-of-river (RoR) projects the industry average cost of installed capacity in Nepal is above $ 2,000/kW. However, this project’s initial investment, as detailed below (SMEC 1997) is only $ 1,097 per kW at 1997 price level. The amounts are inclusive of contingency at the rate of 15% for civil works and at 10% for equipment, project management and resettlement, as provided for in the Detailed Engineering Report of the project.

Table 1: Detail of Initial Investment
Built without a reservoir, the installed capacity of this project would have been limited to 100 MW. However, as this project has been conceptualized as a reservoir project, the installed capacity of this project has been fixed at 750 MW and it generates peak-in energy –3,636 gigawatt-hours (GWh) – which normally commands premium price in the electricity market. As its annual average generation (minus 10% committed for Nepal) is slated to be exported to India at the average tariff of $0.0495/kW, this project generates good quality power at cheap cost. NEA is buying electricity from RoR projects built by independent power producers (IPPs) in Nepal at around US 8 ¢, that too on “take or pay” basis which forces it to pay the same price for electricity during off hours and off season as well, which gets “spilled”. Moreover, NEA is importing electricity at around US 9 ¢ from PTC India. Besides, the avoided cost of peak-energy ranges from $0.20/kW to $0.375/kW, depending on the source of energy to the type of institution generating such power (cost being higher for NEA).

The lower export tariff can be ascribed to the long term PPA which mitigates market risk to an extent. Conversely, the electricity tariff could have been higher if PPA is for a shorter term. The phenomenon can be depicted in the following diagram:

However, PTC India recently proposed to sign PPA with NEA for 25 years to export electricity from India on “take or pay” basis at US 9.6 ¢[2]. Similarly, it is interesting to note that Tripura in India had proposed to export electricity to Bangladesh at INR 7[3] (equivalent to US 16 ¢). This goes a long way to disprove that export tariff for west Seti power has been fixed at a lower level as its PPA duration is for 25 years.

Downstream Benefits
It does not require the knowledge of rocket science to understand that building a reservoir – to store water during rainy season and use the stored water to generate electricity around the year does indeed result in flood control during the wet (rainy) season and augmented flow during the dry season. In view of the fact that West Seti is a relatively small river compared to Karnali River (known as Ghagra in India), the flood control benefit due to the reservoir will definitely accrue, but may not be highly significant.

The benefits of flood control manifests in the elimination/reduction of damages due to flood and also in terms of avoidance of expenditure in repairs, maintenance and rehabilitation in the aftermath of flood. Sometimes flood also displaces people and resettlement of them not only costs money but also costs in terms of human trauma and suffering. However, there is no information available on the quantum of flood control benefit from this project.

Another form of downstream benefit is the availability of augmented flow in the lower riparian areas. According to Dr. Ananda Bahadur Thapa (1995) “After the regulation of the West Seti run-off the present dry season flow at dam site of about 45 cubic meters per second will be increased to about 135 cubic meters per second. Thus the net augmentation of the dry season flow could be about 90 cubic meters per second.” Additional flow as such is invaluable for purposes of both irrigation and water supply in the lower riparian areas.

This quantum of augmented flow during the dry season (8 months) is worth $ 83 million (equivalent to Rs 6 billion approximately) annually based on the principle set forth by the treaty between Lesotho and South Africa. South Africa pays to Lesotho a lump sum of $25 million (in 1991 prices) each year to Lesotho for supplying 18 m3/s of water (both for the purpose of irrigation and water supply) from Lesotho Highlands Water Project (Wallis 1992).

A mechanism could also be developed to share such benefit on the precedent set by the Columbia Treaty. Under Article V: “Entitlement to Downstream Power Benefits” of this treaty “Canada is entitled to one half the downstream power benefits”. The downstream power benefit has been defined by Article VII as “the difference in the hydroelectric power capable of being generated in the United States of America with and without the use of Canadian storage.” Drawing a parallel with the West Seti project, as the installed capacity of this project without a reservoir is just 100 MW, the power benefit of the construction of the reservoir is 650 MW and Nepal, under the principle established by this Treaty, is entitled to 325 MW.

Similarly, under Article VI of this treaty Canada gets a lump sum of $ 64,400,000 as “Payment for Flood Control” from USA. Additionally “the United States of America shall pay Canada in United States funds in respect only of each of the first four flood periods for which a call is made 1,875,000 dollars and shall deliver to Canada in respect of each and every call made, electric power equal to the hydroelectric power lost by Canada as a result of operating the storage to meet the flood control need for which the call was made,” moreover, under Clause (b) of Section 4 of this article US is required to pay to Canada a “compensation for the economic loss to Canada arising directly from Canada foregoing alternative uses of the storage used to provide the flood control.”

Unfortunately, the extant paper work between Nepal and the proponents of West Seti project has deprived Nepal of these innate rights. Nepal deserves to be recompensed for the downstream augmented flow based on the lines of agreement between Lesotho and South Africa or on the basis of the precedent set by the Columbia Treaty. Failing to emulate the principles set in one of these treaties, there is no point in implementing this project.

It needs to be remembered that the data on augmented flow of 90 m3/s is based on the concept of building a dam of 187 m height, with a storage capacity of 1,600 million m3 and installed capacity of 360 MW only. With the increase in the height of the dam to 195 m and installed capacity to 750 MW there must be commensurate increase in the augmented flow.

Climate Change – Carbon Offset
Emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the use of fossil fuel has resulted in global warming in a larger scale which in turn has induced climate change. In order to mitigate this problem, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has been put in place which is a mechanism within the Kyoto Protocol that allows industrialized Annex I countries to implement projects that reduce emissions in non-Annex I countries (developing countries) and get credits for meeting their commitments to reduce emissions.

Generation of hydropower does result in environmental additionality due to carbon offset by it, in not emitting green house gases (GHG) in the environment. As envisaged by Kyoto Protocol, trading in such carbon offset, also known as carbon credit, is already taking place. However, as Nepal is bereft of any fossil fuel exploration activity, and its use of such polluting source of energy as a source for electricity generation is negligible and, therefore, Nepal’s baseline is deemed to be the hydropower which doesn’t pollute. Because, under Kyoto Protocol, a country like Nepal with hydropower as its baseline, environmental additionality is not deemed to be accrued by generating additional hydropower for domestic use, except in the case of hydropower plant of up to 15 MW. Therefore, most of the projects are not considered to be generating environmental additionality. Whereas, as West Seti project, slated to export “clean” power to a country whose baseline is unclean, the transaction does succeed in offsetting CO2.

In view of this, export of hydropower from Nepal to India is a good candidate for trading in carbon credits and for which West Seti project is in a comparatively better position to do so. Of the annual generation of 3,636 GWh, this project is obliged to provide 10% to Nepal free of cost and it will be exporting 3,272 GWh to India each year. Pankaj Patel and Raga Ragavan (2000) have conducted a study and have not only determined the carbon offset on an annual basis by the project but have also worked out the GHG that the rotting vegetation in the reservoir will be producing. Their computation is as tabulated below:

Estimated greenhouse gases produced and reduced annually by the West Seti Project

In sum the export of electricity from this project will offset 3,458,160 tons of CO2 equivalent in a year while the reservoir will produce 2,194 tons of CO2 equivalent over the year resulting in a net offset of 3.45 million tons of CO2 equivalent. Such carbon offset has a market under Kyoto Protocol. Although the price of carbon offset ranges between $ 5 to $ 15 per ton of CO2 equivalent, for the sake of simplicity, using a median price of $ 10 per ton of CO2 equivalent yields a revenue stream of $ 34.5 million (equivalent to Rs 2.59 billion) per annum.

In view of the numerous benefits, as described above, that construction of this project will result in, this is definitely one of the best projects of the genre. However, benefits don’t come alone and there are always numerous and matching costs.

Part II: Costs
Besides the initial investment which is the financial cost to the project developer there are costs involved in building this project in terms of environmental degradation, submergence of forest, cultivable land, displacement of local populace, etc. that Nepal will have to internalize.

The project’s reservoir inundates/submerges 25.1 km of the Seti River and a total of 28.0 km of five main tributaries (Chama Gad, Dhung Gad, Saili Gad, Nawaghar Gad, and Kalanga Gad) (WSHL 2007). According to the same report “The permanent project features will require the acquisition” of “659 ha cultivated land, 806 ha forest, 169 ha shrubs, 246 ha grassland, 9 ha abandoned land, 5 ha settlement, 409 ha river bank land and 23 ha rock/cliffs totaling 2,326 ha of land”[4]. Similarly, 678 ha will be “utilized for the transmission line ROW.” In total the project will use 3004 ha land permanently. The acquisition of land as such is covered by the EIA report. The project proponent has plans on the anvil to resettle the displaced people by providing land in lieu of cultivated land. However, the land occupied/cultivated by the displaced populace is just 659 ha, comprising 22% of total land to be acquired and used by the project. In order to resettle the displaced people, the project will be providing land in lieu for the cultivated land in Nepal. In this manner the project will be using Nepal’s additional land for the purposes of resettlement. However, the project has no plans to provide land in lieu of remaining 2345 ha of land (3004 ha minus 659 ha) that the project is to use. An important question that arises is why Nepal should sacrifice 2345 ha of its land to provide good quality low cost power to India, which will also enjoy the benefit of flood control in rainy season and augmented flow in the dry season.

Additional inundation/submergence
Currently 1,630 ha land gets submerged completely and 645 ha partially every rainy season in Banke district in Holiya, Bethani, Gangapur, Matehiya and Phattepur VDCs due to Laxmanpur barrage built by India during monsoon (Dhungel and Pun, et al 2009). According to Dr Anand Bahadur Thapa (2009) “the controversial Laxmanpur barrage located very close to Indo-Nepal border is a direct extension of the West Seti storage dam project. People of Banke district are already suffering from the partial submergence after completion of the Laxmanpur project. The flooding situation would greatly worsen once the West Seti project starts to operate.” Upon completion of this project the area will be submerged in the dry season too (as there will be additional water in the barrage in the dry season) resulting in submergence throughout the year due to the augmented flow. This aspect is not covered by the EIA report and, therefore, no resettlement and rehabilitation plan has been put in place. This impels one to wonder if the project proponents have disclosed full facts about the project to Asian Development Bank – principal financier of the project.

However, Mr. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Regional Director, Mid Western Regional Irrigation Directorate, under Ministry of Water Resources (located in Surkhet) disagrees with Dr Thapa’s contention and opines that Laxmanpur barrage will not cause additional inundation in Banke district during dry season.

Displacement of local people
The inundation/submergence described above displaces 18,269 (WSHL 2007) people according to the EIA report referred to above. The proponents of the project claim to have put in place a plan to resettle and rehabilitate these people. However, the project doesn’t have any plan to resettle 15,174 people that will be displaced completely after this project comes into operation due to Laxmanpur “barrage” in India (Dhungel and Pun, et al 2009).

Upstream area to cede water right
Clause 7.2(d) of the Project Agreement and Rule 20 of Electricity Regulations, 2050 puts restriction on consumptive use of water in the upstream area in order to ensure adequate water for the project to generate electricity. This restriction adversely impacts following VDCs which will not be allowed to use water in the upstream area for consumptive uses like irrigation etc: Rayal, Dangaji, Parakatne, Bhairabnath, Chaughari, Kotbhairab, Malumela, Matela, Subeda, Luyata, Hemantabada, Chainpur, Sunkuda, Banjh, Khiratadi, Dahabagar, Pipalkot and Kapalseri in Bajhang District, Belapur in Dadeldhura District, Shivalinga, Dhungad, Sigas and Thalakada in Baitadi District and Lamikhal, Mahadevsthan, Dahalkakikasthan, Girichauka & Chhapali in Doti District. The project people are trying to undermine the importance of the issue by saying that there will not be any restriction on drawing of water by the people in these villages for the purposes of drinking. The important issue here is the water for irrigation purposes. Due to the restriction imposed by Clause 7.2(d) of the Project Agreement and Rule 20 of Electricity Regulations, 2050 no new irrigation work will be allowed to be undertaken in these villages. Their attempt to obfuscate the mater will not help the project. Rather, this is the best way to lose their own credibility in the eyes of the people adversely impacted by the project in particular and others in general.

Dewatered area
The project will be diverting water around a 19.2 km river section and this patch of the river will become dewatered. Water will become unavailable for use by locals in such de-watered area. Bayarpada, Banlek, Jijaudamandu, Latamandu and Pachanali VDCs in Doti District and Belapur in Dadeldhura District will be adversely impacts. The environmental flow of 10% that the project is required to leave in the dewatered area will not be adequate for the residents of the villages on the banks of the dewatered river to undertake irrigation work.

Part III: Allocation of Benefit and Cost

After having established various benefits and costs of the project it is time to assess how such benefits and costs are allocated (as to who enjoys the benefits and who bears the cost), which is depicted in the table below:

From the above table it is clear that all of the costs have to be borne by Nepal while benefits go to India making one wonder why Nepal is allowing implementation of such a project.

The question that occurs to patriotic/nationalist Nepali people is why should Nepal sacrifice 4,634 ha of land permanently and 645 ha partially (including submergence in Banke district which has not been accounted for by the project proponents) in order to provide (a) good quality power at low cost, (b) flood control in the rainy season and augmented dry season flow free of cost to India and (c) also carbon offset benefit to India. As a country there is sense in inundating its land mass in one area in order to benefit other area in terms of flood control and augmented flow which will help increase cropping intensity, including off season planting of high value agricultural produces. But that is not the case here. Inundation happens in Nepal and benefits accrue to India.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the storing water during the rainy season in the reservoir built for electricity generation will augment the flow in the Seti River in the dry season and, consequently, in Karnali in Nepal and Ghagra in India substantially. As 75% of the dry season flow of Ganga River is contributed by rivers in Nepal, Karnali being one of the major ones, the incremental flow will be significant. Only issue that needs to be settled is the quantum of such augment flow, objectively. Dr Anand B Thapa, an eminent scholar, has opined that it will amount to 90 m3/s while others feel that this is slightly overestimated quantum. The issue that needs to be debated is not how much will be augmented – which can be scientifically assessed – but why should Nepal have its land, forest, infrastructure, etc. submerged and have its populace displaced in order to provide additional fresh water to India free of cost. There are people in Nepal who are happy to surrender everything to India, even Nepal’s sovereignty, while paying lip service to the spirit of working to the best interest of Nepal and its people. But the majority, thankfully, will never agree to the sell out of Nepal’s interest in any form. Unfortunately, the majority is neither well informed nor is in a position to stop the hydrocracy (politicos, bureaucracy and intellectuals involved in water resource sector development) from signing away Nepal’s interest, in treaty after treaty; manifesting in the treaties for Nepal’s major rivers like Koshi, Gandaki and Mahakali[5]. That was a phase where such bi-national treaties were signed and a lot of controversy raised. These people, with the inclusion of Article 126 in the Constitution of 1990 (Article 156 in Interim Constitution), requiring ratification of such treaties by simple majority in the case of treaties of ordinary nature and by two-thirds in the case of treaties that affect the nation extensively, seriously or in the long term, have changed track. They are now putting forth fronting companies which secure Indian interest in Nepal’s water by getting licenses for hydropower. Thus in the name of hydropower development, Nepal’s land, forest, infrastructure, etc. is submerged and have its populace displaced to provide flood control benefit and augmented flow in the dry season free of cost to India.

India's the then union water resources minister Mr. Saif Uddin Soz had been frank and honest in admitting, with Navin Singh Khadka, BBC Nepali Service, 12 September 2008, that “Our main interest is flood control and irrigation. Those are our first and second priority. If we get hydroelectricity as by product, that will be a bonus for us.”[6] This is the first time that an Indian official (of highest level) has been candid in admitting as much. Surprisingly, however, this has yet to be understood by Nepal’s hydrocracy. Or it may be a case of them pretending not to understand it, in order ensure that Indian interest is served by implementing projects in the name of hydropower that afford flood control benefit and augmented flow at no cost to India. What galls ordinary Nepali citizenry is the fact that these people parrot the statement that they are working to serve the best interest of Nepal and its people while betraying the nation and the population no end.

This breed of “patriotic” people even sarcastically dismiss the issue by saying that the water from the tailrace of the West Seti project will not just jump into Indian territory and go on to add that between the tailrace and Indian territory the augmented flow traverses over 100 km of Nepali territory. What they don’t admit is the fact that if West Seti project isn’t built as a multipurpose project, with an objective to irrigate Nepali land by using the augmented flow, the augmented flow will fall in Indian lap as a low hanging, ripe fruit, and after using such water during a couple of seasons, they will have a strong case to invoke the principle of “existing prior consumptive use.” It is well known by now that using this very principle the water from Mahakali River – deemed to be a border river and each country being entitled to half water – India got away with 96.5% water and leaving just 3.5% for Nepal. Interestingly, this breed of people even come to the defense of the treaty – and by extension India – by arguing that it doesn’t make sense for Nepali people to clamor for 50% share of the water when Nepal isn’t even able to use 3.5% (such is their patriotism!).

Some proclaim that Nepal does not have exclusive right over water flowing in rivers in Nepal as they deem these as international water course. Even if one was to accept the logic of international water course, the augmented flow will not be the “same” water. What the proponents of this concept need to understand is that the augmented flow generated by storing it in a reservoir inundating Nepal’s land is the water with temporal value added at Nepal’s cost. Therefore, Nepal is entitled to the “value” that has been created/added by way of storage of such water in Nepali territory. The problem lies in their mindset that the water flows down to India anyways. The water that flows down during the normal course is the water which is devoid of any value addition. Such water even causes flood during rainy season. But by building a reservoir additional value will be created/added on the free flowing water. Therefore, Nepal is entitled to a “fee” for the value added as such. People advocating to provide such value added water to India free of cost can in no way be deemed to be working for the interest of Nepal and its people. This thinking on their part is the other half of the oxymoron statement that the water normally flowing in the river is waste of “valuable” water. They don’t tire of attributing value (hence the relevance of wastage) to the naturally flowing water which is bereft of any value addition (neither spatial, nor temporal) but are adamant to bestow value added water free of cost to India.

Carbon offset does indeed occur by the export of hydropower from Nepal to India. It is also true that, due to submerged vegetation in the reservoir, methane is indeed generated by the reservoir. If the carbon offset by the former is more than carbon equivalent emitted by the latter, then there is considerable value in such carbon offset. A pragmatic approach on the part of Nepali hydrocracy would have been to ensure that Nepal isn’t shortchanged of the proceeds of carbon trading emanating from the export of hydropower from West Seti project. But this section of hydrocracy that profess their love for Nepal, wish that no question like this is raised such that Indian establishment becomes annoyed at the ineffectiveness of Nepali hydrocracy in protecting the Indian interest. West Seti project management opines that carbon offset hasn’t been traded for projects larger than 200 MW. There are two issues: One, there is no harm in trying for a larger project. Two, it is incumbent on the part of GoN to ensure that if any carbon offset from this project is traded in the future, Nepal’s rights are protected.

Therefore, under the arrangement for West Seti project, Nepal gets shortchanged in many ways. She has to internalize various costs like inundation/submergence by the reservoir and in Banke district, displacement of people by the reservoir and in Banke district, restriction on consumptive (irrigation) use of water in upstream area, unavailability of water in de-watered area to irrigate. While providing good quality power to India at low cost on top of providing benefit from flood control, augmented flow and carbon trading.

In this backdrop one wonders why Nepal is determined to go ahead with this project! The transfer of the power plant to Nepal after 30 years, free of cost has been used (even by the Supreme Court) to justify Nepal internalizing all the costs mentioned above to export peak-in energy at rock bottom price. However, India will keep flood control and augmented flow benefits permanently (even after handover of the plant in 30 years) as “existing prior consumptive use” principle will kick in while Nepal will lose 3004 ha under the reservoir and 1,630 ha permanently, 645 ha partially in Banke due to Laxmanpur “barrage” coupled with the augmented flow to India. In this backdrop it is hard to accept that even Supreme Court verdict has served national interest.

What has been said by the project proponents (echoed with glee by Nepal’s hydrocracy) is that Nepal will receive a project worth $ 1.2 billion, free of cost in 30 years. This has got a cross section of Nepali hydrocracy enthralled which has succeeded in spreading the contagion to the uninformed general public. It needs to be remembered that the present value of $ 1.2 billion, discounted at the rate of 10%, to be received 30-year hence is just $ 68.77 million – not a huge amount worth to be excited about. Similarly, looking at it from another perspective, depreciated value of the asset worth $ 1.2 billion today in 30 years is just, again, $ 48 million (after depreciating the property for 24 years, with 25 years as the economic life of the project). As the old saying goes, it will be tantamount to people going about bragging about having put on some weight while it was merely a case of swelling of the body. Because, thirdly, by then, although the civil works part may be in a fairly good condition but same will not be true in the case of hydro and electro-mechanical equipment which will have to be replaced in about 25-30 years.

On the contrary Nepal stands to be shortchanged of $ 2.075 billion (at current price level) for the augmented flow of water over 25 years[7], even if Nepal is to get back the augmented flow too after the handover of the project. Similarly, Nepal also is not going to receive $ 34.5 million for the carbon offset during 25 years operation of the plant that she is entitled to. Moreover, it also needs to be remembered that this calculation does not take into account the power benefit that is due to Nepal.

In this scenario, Nepal does not get what is rightfully due to it. But even after hand over of the project India will continue to keep benefit from flood control as well as from the augmented flow. She will end up having right to these permanently as she will use the principle of “existing prior consumptive use.” In Nepal’s case, the land inundated by the reservoir and Laxmanpur barrage will continue to remain unavailable to her permanently, till decommissioning of the plant.

Besides, there is the issue of decommissioning[8] which both the hydrocracy and the project people don’t like to talk. Although the main source of Kulekhani reservoir, for example, is not based on silt laden river, the dead storage of this reservoir is already 25%. In other words, the capacity of Kulekhani reservoir has diminished to 75% of original capacity in about 2 decades. Same (the role of silt) can also be seen from the rise of river-bed of Koshi River by 4 meter, by now, compared to the level of the land in the surrounding area. Seti too carries high silt load and West Seti project will transform into a RoR project from the reservoir project in about 30-40 years. At that time, after getting it handed over to Nepal, this project’s dam will have to be decommissioned. As the private sector has not provided any budget for this purpose, the government of Nepal will be forced to spend money for this purpose. Meaning, when Nepal is supposed to be “enjoying” electricity from this project handed over free of cost, she will be forced to shell out money for decommissioning which will cost more than the initial investment to build this project.

Part IV: Assessment of Percolation Coefficient

An objective assessment of a project also needs an assessment from economic perspective. The best way to do so is by examining/analyzing various linkages to the economy like backward, forward, investment and fiscal linkages of the specific projects and evaluating the contribution to the national economy in terms of percolation coefficient. Implementation of a hydropower project entails investing huge amount which results in backward linkage, provided that the amount invested as such percolates into the economy. Similarly, commissioning a hydropower project results in forward linkage and percolation coefficient from it depends on the use of the output (electricity) from it within the economy. An economy can also benefit from investment linkage depending upon the flow of return on investment from the hydropower project – whether it percolates within the economy or without. Finally, national treasury benefits from fiscal linkage due to the implement of the project to the extent of various rates and taxes paid by the project.

Backward Linkage
Hydropower projects are of capital intensive nature, entailing high initial investment. Depending on the nature of backward linkages of a specific project, the contribution of each project to the country’s economy can be assessed by evaluating how much of the initial investment is retained by the economy, resulting in employment generation, higher level of industrialization, increased contribution to foreign exchange reserve, capacity enhancement and capital formation. Absorption capacity of the economy also dictates the value/volume of the backward linkage. If the full amount of investment for this project is to percolate into Nepal’s economy, she would definitely benefit substantially.

Obviously, if closer to a hundred percent of the initial investment percolates into the economy, the contribution of such a project to the economy due to backward linkage will be very high. Conversely, if the economy is able to retain very little of the initial investment then the benefit accruing to the economy from such a project will be proportionately low. From this perspective, a project which makes substantial contribution to the economy due to backward linkage is good for the country and vice versa.

Let’s examine the percolation coefficient due to backward linkage of this project. According to Table 1 above, implementing this project entails investing $ 1.097 billion. Of the total cost of civil works of $ 469 million, most of it will be incurred for the procurement of cement, steel bars and other construction materials. Although there are two cement factories (other factories mainly grind imported clinker and fill in the sacks) the production capacity of these are not adequate even to meet the present domestic demand. And there also are a number of factories producing steel bars in Nepal but these too are unable to meet domestic demand (and, moreover, as these use imported raw materials, the percolation from the use of such steel bars into the Nepali economy is very little). Therefore, the requirement of this project will have to be met by the imports. The project will, however, be able to source for gravel, aggregate, sand, etc. within Nepal and it is estimated to cost about $ 1 million.

As Nepal is yet to set up industries manufacturing/fabricating electro-mechanical equipment even for projects below 10 MW, the entire budget of $ 180 million is likely to be spent on imports of electro-mechanical equipment for the project. Same will be the case of investment of $ 22 million in the transmission line. However, it can be fairly assumed that it will cost about $ 1 million in Nepali workers in the installation/erection of electro-mechanical equipment and transmission network.

The resettlement entails purchasing land and building houses for the displaced populace and the land is expected to cost 50% of the budget and construction materials also 50%. Project management, to be the responsibility of SMEC, is expected to be predominantly expatriate affair and about 10% is expected to be spent on the technocrats from Nepal.

SMEC has been making it public that 5,000 unskilled workers are expected to get employment during the construction period (as have been seen during the construction of most of the hydropower projects, most of the skilled workers will be sourced from foreign countries). Over the construction period, lasting 5.5 years, the workforce at the construction site will be relatively small in the initial years which will peak during the 4th year and will taper off as the time of commissioning of the plant nears. Therefore, it is estimated that the construction of the project will entail 165,000 worker/months. Total payment to the workers over the construction period is estimated to amount $ 15 million at the rate of Rs 6,000 per worker/month.

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), being a member of the World Bank group, the premium of $ 34 million will be spent overseas. Similarly, as debt financing for the project will be coming from foreign financial intermediaries, the interest during construction and other financing costs will not percolate into Nepali economy. It is expected that about $ 0.2 million will be spent on lawyers from Nepal and the balance of $ 17.8 million will be paid out to foreign lawyers. SMEC is entitled to a development cost of $ 27 million for preparing the project and it can be fairly assumed that about 10% of this amount will be spent in Nepal.

In this manner, of the total initial investment of $ 1,097 million, about $ 39 million will be spent in Nepal – resulting in percolation coefficient of 0.0356. Therefore, the employment generation, level of industrialization, capacity enhancement and capital formation will be limited by this percentage. In the similar vein, although this project entails foreign direct investment of $ 1,097 million but the contribution to foreign exchange reserve of Nepal (another form of backward linkage) will too be limited to $ 39 million that will be spent in Nepal. Rest will come to Nepal as the foreign direct investment and will desert the country immediately due to outlays in foreign countries.

Had the absorption capacity of Nepali economy been better, the percolation coefficient of this project from backward linkage would have been higher. Conversely, percolation coefficient of other projects which are not too dependent on foreign sources will be higher. An ideal hydropower project from this perspective will result in 0.5 or more percolation coefficient.

Forward Linkage
Another important way a hydropower project can benefit an economy is due to the forward linkage benefit which entails using the electricity domestically. Use of electricity by an economy results in the multiplier effect on the economy resulting in employment generation, higher level of industrialization, increased contribution to foreign exchange reserve, capacity enhancement and capital formation. The electricity, upon it becoming available, can be used in all sectors. It can be used, for example, in agro-processing, like tea which is currently processed using furnace oil or firewood. With this one change economy will benefit from decrease in import of fossil fuel that drains hard currency, decrease in deforestation and decrease in environmental pollution. Similarly, by using electricity for irrigation, farmers, consequently the economy can benefit due to increase in cropping intensity, plantation of cash crop, off season produce, etc.

Currently industrialization in Nepal is stifled due to non-availability of abundant electric energy. Even existing industries have to rely on fossil fuels which are not cost effective – resulting in higher cost of production that impacts both the industry and its consumers. But it also drains foreign exchange reserve and also results in environmental pollution due to emission of greenhouse gasses. The fate of transport sector is also not different from the industry which is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuel requiring convertible foreign exchange and resulting in environmental pollution in massive scale. Similar parallels can be drawn in connection with tourism, health, education and domestic sectors.

If the electricity generated from a project like West Seti is to be used domestically, the forward linkage benefit to Nepali economy would have been tremendous. In order to simplify the matter, as only 10% of electricity generated from this project will be available to the Nepali economy,[9] we can conclude that the percolation coefficient of this project is 0.1 on account of forward linkage. On this issue, too it is curious that this project, that not only generates good quality electricity at low cost but also generates flood control and augmented flow, the free energy given is at the lowest level. Upper Karnali and Arun III projects have offered 12% and 21.9% free energy respectively.

From the above it is clear that use of electricity generated by a project results in import substitution to an extent and, therefore, positively impacts foreign exchange reserve, too. However, there are “economists” who believe that exporting electricity from such a project to India helps mitigate the problem of balance of payment deficit of Indian currency – to the extent of total revenue generated by this project by exporting electricity. This, unfortunately, is untrue which can be substantiated by looking at future cash flow of the project subsequent to its commissioning. For the duration of debt service period of about 15 years, of the total revenue generated by this project a large portion will be used up in the payment of interest on the debt and repayment of a part of the principal. Anything left after meeting the debt service requirement as such and operation and maintenance cost will be distributed as dividend of which only 15% will reach Nepal. However, as Government of Nepal is borrowing money to invest in the equity of this project company, most of the money from dividend in the hands of GoN will be spent in meeting this part of the debt service obligation. Therefore, the only “foreign exchange” that will enter and stay in Nepal in the first 15 years of project operation are the energy and capacity royalties, which adds up to about 2.89% of the total export revenue in the case of this project (this is further elaborated under fiscal linkage below).

Investment Linkage
Under investment linkage the economy will benefit due to construction and operation of the project from the perspective of return on investment. The return, in the hands of the recipient, will either be used as increased purchasing power which will result in employment generation or will be saved and invested again resulting in capital formation. If a project is fully financed domestically then the financial intermediaries would have earned interest on their investment and the equity holders would have received dividend both of which would have stayed in Nepali economy.

In the case of West Seti, as all debt is being sourced from foreign financial intermediaries and all equity investors are foreigners, except for 15% of GoN, almost all of the return on investment will not percolate into Nepali economy. If the GoN was to take up 15% equity in this project from domestic sources, at least 3.75% of the return from the project would have accrued to Nepal. But, as GoN is borrowing money to invest in this project whatever dividend GoN will receive from this project will flow right back to the lender in debt service (repayment of part of the principal and interest on the loan outstanding). Therefore, the percolation coefficient on account of investment linkage is 0.01.

Fiscal Linkage
The fiscal linkage of a project to the economy of the country manifests in its contribution to the treasury – in the form of payment of various rates, taxes and duties. During the operational period, this project is required to pay capacity royalty of Rs 100 per kW and energy royalty of 2% of the revenue during first 15 years of the project operation which amounts to 2.62% of the turnover (whereas Upper Karnali and Arun III projects are required to pay royalty at the rate of Rs 400/kW and 7.5% as energy royalty). This project also is required to pay a very meager export tax of 0.05% of the revenue; in total paying 2.67% as royalties and export tax (Rs 324 million) each year after commissioning.
Moreover, as the tariff fixed for export of power from this project is merely US 4.95 ¢ while NEA is importing at around US 9 ¢ from PTC India the government revenue from energy royalty to Nepal is commensurately low.
Nevertheless, one should accept the rates agreed by GoN regarding royalties and export tax. But for failure to ensure downstream benefit to Nepal, deprives Nepal of Rs 6 billion/year. Conversely Nepal would have received Rs 6.324 billion altogether if Nepal is to succeed to get recompense for downstream benefit. In view of this the percolation of coefficient of fiscal linkage is 0.0512 only.
One can easily make an assessment of this project by compiling percolation coefficients due to various linkages as follows:

The percolation coefficient in each type of linkage could have been higher (closer to 1) but for the structuring (should not be confused with the physical structure of the works) and/or packaging of this project.

Part V: Recommendations and Conclusion

In view of the above, the only condition Nepal should go ahead with the implementation of this project is by adopting the principles established by the Columbia Treaty. Nepal should receive 325 MW as power benefit under Clause V and payment for flood control under Clause VI which recognizes that the upstream country is entitled to “compensation for the economic loss to Canada arising directly from Canada foregoing alternative uses of the storage used to provide the flood control.”

Alternately, India should provide land in exchange of inundated/submerged land of over 4,000 ha pursuant to precedent set by Sarada Agreement of 1920, the 3rd clause (Pun 2008) of which reads: “That the Nepal Government would transfer necessary land for the construction and maintenance of canal works which is provisionally estimated at 4,000 acres and would receive land equal in area from the British Government.” because, the inundated/submerged land under the reservoir will never become available for economic/productive uses by Nepal.

The Ideal structure of West Seti Project is as follows:

If above structure is unacceptable to the proponents, then the project should be structured as described in following lines. It should be built as a multipurpose project in order to irrigate land in Nepal and the dam height should be fixed according to irrigation need of cultivable land in Nepal. Therefore, the inundation/submergence of land in Nepal should be commensurate to the extent of Nepal’s irrigation requirement only. The electricity should be used to meet Nepal’s need of peak-in energy demand and export only excess energy to India, not power. Besides, as long term PPAs yield low tariff (and vice versa – depicted by the diagram above), no long term PPA should be executed. Only short term PPA should be signed with an eye on Nepal’s need.

The proponents of the project seem to be trying to obfuscate the important (with high value for Nepal) issues by citing indirect benefits to Nepal in terms of employment generation etc. occurring during construction period which automatically occur in the alternative models recommended above. Similarly, they have a litany of “anticipated spin off benefits” which too does take place in the recommended models above.

[1] This is no more true. The meeting of the Parliament’s Natural Resource and Means Committee held on July 17, 2007 has resolved to direct government of Nepal to arrange to receive 10% free power – not revenue in lieu of it.
[2] Vernacular daily “Kantipur” (Kathmandu), May 25, 2009.
[3] Power import from India unlikely for high tariff, Bangladesh News (Dec 14, 2007). URL www. Bangladesh
[4] See Table 3, ‘Land Use on Sites to be Permanently Acquired.’ in WSHL 2007.
[5] First signed away in the name of MoU for Tanakpur power project, but after the intervention of Supreme Court, in the name of package deal, Nepal was betrayed by signing a treaty for the whole Mahakali River which was even ratified by the Parliament – an act of national betrayal.
[6] A transcript of the interview has been published in Nepali Times weekly, 19-25 Sept 2008, #418.
[7] Based on the precedent set by the agreement between Lesotho and South Africa.
[8] Decommissioning means either stopping production of electricity from the plant or the demolition of the civil and electric infrastructure in order to restore the river ecosystem, minimize or eliminate safety hazards and put the river and land resources back to economically productive uses, when the useful life of the project expires.
[9] Pursuant to the decision of Natural Resource and Means Committee of the Parliament, GoN is required to take 10% of the electric energy in kind, although the Project Agreement with the proponents of this project (as amended by 8th amendment) envisages receiving money in lieu of energy. In this paper, it is assumed that GoN will succeed in amending the project agreement to receive energy itself, instead of money in lieu, in order to conform to the Committee’s decision.
[10] NEA is paying about US 8 ¢ for electricity generated by RoR projects in Nepal. As this project is slated to sell electricity at rock bottom prices, Nepal’s revenue from this project, no wonder, is low on this account too. It should be interesting to note that Tripura in India proposed to export electricity to Bangladesh at INR 7 (equivalent to US 16 ¢).

Dhungel, D.N., S.B. Pun, et al, 2009, ‘Inundation at the Southern Border, in D.N Dhungel & S.B. Pun eds., The Nepal-India Water Resources Relationship: Challenges, Kathmandu: Institute of Integrated Development Studies

Patel P. & Ragavan R. (2000): Sustainable Environmental Outcomes from Water-related Energy Projects. In Water Resources Development , Vol. 16, No. 4, 511-524, 2000

Pun, S.B., 2008, ‘Whither Indo-Nepal Water Resource?’ in Part V, Vidyut (half yearly edition) 19(1), (August).

Shani, Wallis, 1992, Lesotho Highland Water Project, Surbiton, Surrey, UK: Laserline.

SMEC, 1997: Detailed Engineering Report of West Seti Hydroelectric Project, Australia: SMEC International Pty. Ltd.

Thapa, A.B., 1995, ‘West Seti benefit could turn into a desert mirage for Nepal’. WECS Bulletin 6, May.

Thapa, A.B. 2008, ‘International Water Right Principles’, Newsfront (Kathmandu) 84, (15-21 September 2008). URL :

WSHL, 2007, Environmental Assessment Report of West Seti Hydroelectric Project, Report to Asian Development Bank, New Delhi: West Seti Hydro Ltd.

Published in Issue # 5 (July 2009) of Hydro Nepal (journal of water, energy and environment)