“Give us electricity, Honourable Minister”

Kathmandu: “The government had announced to provide electric meters to landless squatters. But we have been deprived of electricity service for want of electric meter. Could our problem be addressed honourable minister?” Kamala Bishwokarma, a landless squatter from Tikapur in Bardiya complained with Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun over the phone.

She was ringing at toll free number 1151 set up by the Ministry in a bid to listen to complaints related to electricity and irrigation and address them.

Minister Pun received the phone and listened to Bishwokarma complaining with quavering voices. “We do not have land to till and build a house. We do not have access to electricity either,” she voiced her complaint. In response, Minister Pun said “You should file an application to the Tikapur distribution centre of the Nepal Electricity Authority. I will call the chief of the centre right now. You will get electric poles and meters.”

Likewise, Ganesh Magar from Ilam complained with Minister Pun about wooden electric poles increasing risk of accidents. He demanded the replacement of wooden poles.

The minister responded that he would direct the Ilam distribution centre of the NEA and necessary initiatives would be taken to replace the wooden poles.

Also, Bishnu Oli from Dang complained that local people of Tulsipur Municipality-4 were facing irrigation problems due to lack of electricity. “Our lands have remained barren since long for want of irrigation. We could irrigate them if we have electricity access,” he said.

Minister Pun launched the hotline service on August 3 with the objective to hear complains related to electricity and irrigation and address them. People from across the country can talk and complaint with Minister on every Friday about irrigation and electricity problems by dialing 1151.

On Friday alone, the second day of the start of the service, the minister received and redressed a total of 14 electricity and irrigation complaints. On the first day, Minister Pun heard the total 16 complaints from across the country.