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Music unites Nepalis in campaign for light

Exasperated by chronic power outages plaguing Nepal, nearly 8,000 music lovers gathered at the Lainchaur Ground in Kathmandu on Saturday evening seeking change.

world Updated: Feb 20, 2012 00:28 IST
Utpal Parashar

Exasperated by chronic power outages plaguing Nepal, nearly 8,000 music lovers gathered at the Lainchaur Ground in Kathmandu on Saturday evening seeking change.

Using music to raise awareness and seek solutions, some of the country's popular bands performed to raise voice against the malaise that has crippled the Nepal's economy.

The Let There Be Light concert is the first such campaign for electricity in Nepal. And it used social networking to bring people together with the message-'Out of Facebook, onto the grounds'.

Nepal is experiencing severe power crisis since past six years. There is power outage throughout the year, but the problem peaks during winter with nearly 14-16 hours of daily power cuts.

"Why do we Nepalis tolerate 14 hour power cuts every winter? We need to be united in asking this question to ourselves," says Abhaya Subba Weise of Steam Injuns, a popular band, the woman behind the event.

"This darkness in Nepal is a metaphor. Our realisation that there is darkness will bring light to this nation," she adds.

Besides the Steam Injuns, the three-hour concert saw performances by Albatross, The Workshop, Saptak, Anuprastha, and Tripitak. None of them charged anything.

"The concert was a good beginning to kick us out of slumber. The large turnout showed that we will not things lying down anymore," said Prashant Thapa, 23, an MBA student.

Despite having a potential to generate 80,000 MW and a history of power generation extending 100 years, Nepal manages to generate around 400 MW - half the peak demand of nearly 1000 MW.

The country has to resort to load shedding and import 100 MW from India to manage the crisis. There are talks with New Delhi to increase the double the supply in coming years.

Due to its inability to harness hydropower effectively, industrial output has suffered and Nepal remains one of the poorest countries.