February 12, 2008

The 'Worst' that someone can imagine!!!

I was reading about a British controversy regarding Beijing Olympics and at the bottom of the article was a link, "Keeping the candles lit in Nepal". Yeah, everything he writes is true, very true. That is what Nepal has reduced to these days.

It is so sad that 'we' are becoming the 'worst' that the World can imagine! It is so sad! So sad!!

Keeping the candles lit in Nepal Posted by Tim Johnson
Sun Feb 10, 10:16 AM ET

I’ve traveled from Pakistan to Nepal, the final leg of a month-long journey before returning to China. And before you congratulate me on finagling a work-related trip to Kathmandu, let me describe the situation here.

For at least eight hours a day, there is no electricity. Luckily my hotel has a generator, but it is only enough to power an overhead light and my computer. There is no heat when the power is off.

I’ve eaten dinner by candlelight ever since arriving four days ago.

The roads are congested beyond belief. People complain about traffic in Beijing. It is nothing compared to Kathmandu. Walking is good exercise. But not for the reason you might think. I’ve repeatedly had to leap for safety while on the sidewalk to avoid getting hit by careening motorcycles and scooters.

At least in Beijing, while stuck in traffic, one can work the cell phone. Even that luxury is unavailable here. The cellular phone circuits are so congested – like the roads – that I’ve repeatedly given up trying to make calls after dialing 10 or 20 times.

In short, Nepal is the least developed country I’ve visited in Asia, although I confess I haven’t been to Papua New Guinea. Frankly, I’d compare Nepal to Haiti, where I worked quite a bit in the early 1990s.

Speaking of power outages, anybody who travels outside of Europe or North America these days will likely learn a new phrase – “load shedding.”

I heard it a lot in Pakistan and wasn’t quite sure what it meant. Pakistan, or at least the area around Islamabad, is enduring 3-5 hours of blackouts each day. Which seemed like a lot, until I came to Nepal. Load shedding is the word de jure to describe rolling blackouts designed to keep overburdened power grids from collapsing.

Type in “load shedding” and “blackouts” in Google News and one quickly learns that power outages are a growing phenomenon in many parts of the world, partly due to rising energy prices and partly due to stagnant power grids not keeping up to surging economies. Blackouts are hitting southern Africa, parts of India and Argentina hard. Here’s what Stratfor, a firm marketing global private intelligence, says in a Feb. 2 report:

“South Africa and Argentina both experienced massive power outages in January that shut down industry and left houses without power. The South African outages disrupted mining operations throughout southern Africa; some mines were shut down for three days. Electronics and heavy construction firms that depend on South African, Zimbabwean and Botswanan minerals very nearly needed to find alternative sources. In a global economy dependent on prompt delivery, where little inventory is built up in many supply chains, such disruptions can be disastrous.

“This tightness in the global energy generation system is a gaping vulnerability for the global economy, and while power shortages are not unknown in the United States, Europe and Japan, the fast-growing developing economies are where problems are most acute and where a remedy will prove extremely difficult to implement.

So there are probably more than a billion people joining me tonight around the globe for a candlelit dinner. If only it were romantic…


  1. I was recently in Nepal, couple of months ago. बानी बिग्रेछ कि क्या हो, सार्है गर्हो भयो........पानी, बिजुली, शिक्षा, यतायत, संचार आदि त एउटा राष्ट्रको नागरिकको basic अधिकार हो...अरु त परै जओस basic पनि झन खस्किंदै गएको पो पाएं

  2. Thank you Prajwoljee!
    I have enjoyed your postings on your trip to and from Nepal. It is hard to get adjusted again to the condition in Nepal, on returning after some years.

    Due to some family tragedies/responsibilities, I was back to Nepal 4 times in last 5 years. Evertime, things were worse than the last one.

    They say that we are becoming a failed state, but we may have already become one.

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  4. oh ! it's too sad,that one comment abt nepal..........but what to do, it's true that,here is no water,no electricity,no fuel, no petrol,no deisel, no security......... and always बन्द..........

  5. thanks for sharing the article i agree with aakar. When leaders can understand about it??

  6. Thanks Bharatjee, aakarjee and sameerjee!

  7. load shedding has lessen and the light goes out only 20 hours each week. May be it will be better after 5 years. And if we compare things, always one is better than other or vice-versa. Anyways, i sadly enjoyed the post. Thank you again

  8. Thank you Nawang for your comment.
    It is good that load shedding has lessened these days. I hope it will keep on getting less.