Nepali Times
Hydrocarbon, hydropower and carbohydrates

There are three basic needs that the modern Nepali state has miserably failed to provide for: food, fuel and power. This is a result of shameless mismanagement, a shocking lack of accountability and a complete absence of guilt on the part of our rulers. There are other problems (impunity, breakdown of law and order, inflation, lack of jobs) but for proof of reckless malgovernance we need look no further than the chronic shortages of energy and food.

The accepted measure of poverty is $1.25 per day. But this doesn't mean anything for the average Nepali who would perhaps grasp that figure better if it was in riyals instead of in dollars. But a better indicator than income is intake: the average daily adult kilocalorie consumption has to be above the cutoff of 2,709. One third of the population of Kaski has a caloric intake below that threshold, and this goes up to 65 per cent in Mugu, according to a World Food Programme study in 2006. More than half the children in Nepal are stunted, wasted and underweight because they don't get enough to eat.

Food is fuel for the body. But to fuel the nation's economy, we need energy from hydropower and petroleum. If Nepal was a human body, you could say it is on a starvation diet. Sixteen hours of power cuts and a severe shortage of petroleum supply means that this country is now even worse than conflict areas of the world like Iraq or Afghanistan. Nepal's rulers after 2006 don't have an autocratic monarchy or a war to blame anymore: it is a sign of incompetence and state paralysis of epic proportions.

Because of the rising number of vehicles and the rocketing demand for diesel for generators, our current fuel import bill of Rs 70 billion a year will soon rise to Rs 100 billion, provided world prices of crude remain constant. This is more than our total hard currency receipt from exports and tourism put together.

No need to be a genius to figure out that this is not sustainable. We are doomed if we continue with a fossil economy, our economic reliance on India will grow and will translate into political subordination. The answer always was hydropower, to spur domestic growth and for balance of payments equilibrium. But we are the laughing stock of the world for harnessing only 500 megawatts of our 50,000 megawatt generation potential.

Nepal is not poor, it is poorly governed. Things will only improve when the political class is less obsessed with power and more with energy. Only by generating hydropower to reduce our d ependence on hydrocarbons will there be enough carbohydrates for everyone.

BY THE WAY: Unintelligent intelligence, ANURAG ACHARYA
MY TAKE: Might is not right, DAMAKANT JAYSHI
REVIEW: Inconvenient truths, KUL CHANDRA GAUTAM

1. Arthur
This is MUCH better than the usual articles pushing solar panels.

Hydropower development is certainly needed. But fossil fuels will be needed as well.

There is indeed epic malgovernance and state paralysis.

The "political class" is a joke, including Nepali Times.

2. jange
1. Arthur
The "political class" is a joke, including Nepali Times

And yet Kamred Arthur takes the trouble to post on NT!!??

3. Khurafati
When a man wears black Cap (Mat like thickness) the oxygen supply to their brain through head skin decrease substantially Unfortunately it is happening even after declaration of FDR. with leaders and bureaucrats .Women already
heavy bunch of hairs.All in mandale look. If such Nation suffer for hydro power, hydrocarbons or carbohydrates not a big strange, if you look at records human trafficking  allowed in practices, girls and women and youngs trafficked to abroad perhaps to meet these demand of Nepal.

4. Arthur
jange #2, such a comment from you of all people is quite fascinating.

5. Anish
But we are the laughing stock of the world for harnessing only 500 megawatts of our 50,000 megawatt generation potential.

I think it's about time someone gives us a basis for this claim. Who came up with this figure, what was their assumptions, how did they conduct the study, can their methods and results withstand scientific scrutiny? Responsible media like NT would do all of us a lot of good if they actually  did some kind of research on this figure of '50000 MW' since realization of this 'potential' seems to be our only hope. God forbid, this figure turns out to be a figment of imagination of hyper-euphoric academic. We all will be doomed to poverty for eternity !!

6. Shobhakar Dhakal

I sugest rephrasing your very first sentence: replace {these words} with (these words).

"There {are} (is) {three} (only one) basic needs that the modern Nepali state has miserably failed to provide for: {food, fuel and power} (reasonable level of good governance)". period.

.... the implications of not having it have manifested itself everywhere in different figure and forms... of course a "system" is always inter-connected.. the obvious few places to start building the system is "a good governace", "creating a system of accountability", and changing our own prevalent social-value-system by "not socially rewarding those who are corrupt and making money unreasonably".... problems of calories would be automatically solved then... (actually, hydrocarbon, hydropower and carb,  all have same units:"calories")

7. hange
Arthur, #2 jange actually makes a good point:
Why, pray do tell, does one who knows so much more than NT bow down to its standards and not only reads it but also posts on it? Are you just slumming it with us low-intelligence-non-maoist-non-violent types to get a "pulse of the proletariat?" While the political class (and by that, I mean all of them: the Shahs, Thapas, Ranas, Maoists, Panchayats, "democratic governments") are a joke, why do you include the NT with it? You just said that this was a good article, and yet, it is included in the Nepali Times which, according to you, is a joke.

8. Arthur
hange #7, it might be an interesting point from somebody else but not from jange, since jange also reads and posts here regularly while also strongly opposing the views of Nepali Times (from an opposite perspective to mine).

I have answered a similar question before. Here is the main part of the answer again:

Many people prefer to read only views they agree with. I mainly read views that I disagree with. This is partly because not much is published that I agree with, but mainly because I prefer trying to understand the views of people I disagree with and get bored reading things I already understand.

I read Telegraph, MyRepublica, eKantipur, NepalNews and (less often) Himalaya Times as well as Nepali Times, to learn about Nepal. But I read almost every article only in Nepali Times and I regularly comment only in Nepali Times.

This is partly because Nepali Times really does encourage comments (eg by prominent display together with the articles) and it is more possible to get into a dialogue since the articles and comments are easily available for a full week so there can be two or three alternating comments and replies on the same article during the week (or even more). Also a weekly is naturally more inclined towards serious analysis than a daily and the quality of english language writing is much better here. The audience seems to have a higher proportion of Nepalis outside Nepal, so my participation as a foreigner is less out of place than in the more local papers.

Note the emphasis in italics. It is quite possible to acknowledge that a publication is worth reading and commenting on because it does encourage discussion while completely rejecting its viewpoint.

It struck me as ironic that in a relatively good article which clearly described the reckless incompetence and paralysis of Nepal's political class, Nepali Times, which reflects the world view of that class, called for a solution from those same people:

"Things will only improve when the political class is less obsessed with power and more with energy."

In my view things will only improve when the present political class is removed from power. Nepali Times is incapable of recognizing this even when it is spelled out in the same article, precisely because it is a voice of that class. My reference to a joke was intended to convey this, but was inadequate to do so.

It should not be necessary to add that we of course disagree about whether the Maoists are part of the "political class" or "establishment" in Nepal. In my view the extreme hostility towards them arises from understanding that they intend to actually change the system instead of becoming part of it.

But at the same time when admitting what a disasterous mess has been made of Nepal by its political class it is convenient to blame Nepal's problems on "politicians" (including Maoists) instead of on the class that still holds power.

9. Soni

"There are three basic needs that the modern Nepali state has miserably failed to provide for: food, fuel and power. This is a result of shameless mismanagement, a shocking lack of accountability and a complete absence of guilt on the part of our rulers."

There is a sense of pointlessness in making comments after a certain point. However, to not say anything at these times of uncertainty and confusion would be ignorant and irresponsible.

While it is indeed true that the Nepali state has failed to provide the three basic necessities, and also failed in other aspects of governance, the causes identified are misleading.

The Editor says that the failure is down to, a) "shameless" mismanagement, b) shocking lack of "accountability", and c) a complete absence of "guilt" on part of our rulers.

It is important to point out how misguided this criticism is. In case of (a), while mismanagement is evidenced in results, the mismanagement itself is a result of misguided policies, with wrong objective and because of wrong methods adopted in executing government policies.

Meanwhile, the editor may find the lack of accountability "shocking", but this too is a result of the fact that while politicians were steadily eroding the credibility of monitoring institutions, the media was justifying the action of these politicians.

Instead of taking them to task, instead of raising intelligent questions, and delivering non-partisan insights into the cause of such mismanagement and lack of accountability and its impact on Nepal's future, the media was busy being partisan.

The Editor's final point is completely baffling. How does he know or understand the guilt of politicians, or lack thereof?

The "rulers" may not have felt guilty because they believed their own rhetoric of "working for the poor", "working for democratic inclusion", "delivering rights", - the same rhetoric that the media itself appears to be beholden to, even now.

If this editorial is a sample of the manner in which this paper seeks to enlighten its readers and inform the public debate, then there is not much hope for the quality of debate in this country. Least of all, the politicians would rather be forced to be even more irresponsible because this type of rabble rousing editorials do nothing but further inflame sentiments.

If Nepalitimes wishes to use its absolutely fabulous format, enviable quality of its writing, and, dare I say, the quality of attention that it attracts, for the good of whoever it influences, it needs to sharpen its focus on the quality of its approach to a problem.

The articles, including this editorial, need to be far better researched to have even a little influence on its readers opinions. This is partcularly important at this juncture. Because peace and constitution are not the only important things that are happening in Nepal.

Far more important is the character of that peace and the constitution and impact it would have on the future of this country. Hope to read more enlightened editorials.

In fact our key political executives are not trained well for value based sciences and technology since last 20 years.
Background less Hippocrates are promoted or nominated to control the policies and program of nation resulting in unmanageable Nation.Key politicians should be more informative and innovative to instruct the clerical top bureaucrats.... then improvement will come.Now only one Mantra balace to activate them drag the concern in court to reply.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)