January 27: Locals of Marin Rural Municipality of Sindhuli are forced to incur a loss of Rs 1000 to pay electricity bill of Rs 45. They have to pay hefty charge as transportation fare to reach the branch office of Nepal Electricity Authority from the village.
Despite electrification of the rural areas, the locals are at the receiving end due to lack of bill counters in the villages.
“We were happy to get electricity in our village,” said Basu Neupane, a local of Marin, adding, “But now we are forced to spend an entire day and additional charge of Rs 1000 as transportation fare just to pay electricity fee of Rs 45 to Rs 80.”
He said that the locals had repeatedly requested the branch office of the NEA to open a counter near the village but to no avail.
According to Neupane, the local government has also written letters requesting the branch office to set up bill counters in the village but the NEA hasn’t responded yet.
Chief of the NEA’s branch office in Sindhuli Sher Bahadur Sunar said they were aware about the problems of the locals but they are helpless due to lack of adequate manpower.
“We have requested the centre to avail staffers to operate a sub-branch at Marin Rural Municipality but that is unlikely to happen unless we get the required staffers,” he added.
He informed that the branch office has set a target of opening a sub-branch at Marin Rural Municipality within the current fiscal year.
Sunar admitted problems in service delivery as the capacity of the branch office has not been expanded although the number of customers has increased from 10,000 to 35,000.
He claimed that they have arranged bill payment facility through e-Sewa especially for the locals of the rural areas.