Electricity enables establishment of community FM station

FM station in Kharbang
FM station in Kharbang. Photo: UNDP Nepal

A 100 watt FM station installed with community initiative in Kharbang- Dagatung Danda Village Development Committee (VDC) in Baglung has started test transmission from14 January 2011. Transmitting at 107.4 MHz, the signal coverage is reportedly being received in numerous VDCs in Baglung and adjoining districts—Pyuthan, Palpa and Syangja.

Thanks to the technical and financial support of the UNDP Rural Energy Development Programme—this became possible only after the generation of electricity from the 75 kilo watt Girindikhola micro hydro plant. The plant is operated by the Micro Hydro Functional Group through District Development Committee: District Energy Environment Unit (DEES), Baglung. This micro hydro project has provided electricity to 772 households in Kharbang.

Highlights

  • REDP, the predecessor of RERL, built 317 sustainable micro-hydro projects with a total installed capacity of 5.7 megawatts (MW), directly benefiting 59,172 households.
  • The REDP/RERL model being adopted by the government in its landmark Rural Energy Policy (2006) and as the basis for its nationwide Micro-hydro Village Electrification Programme (MHVEP), which is funded by the World Bank.

After a careful business analysis by the communities followed by several round of discussions with the REDP officials, the members agreed to invest in a community-owned FM station, convinced that it would have multiple benefits for the community.

Despite of the challenge to come up with Rs. 700,000 required to purchase the equipment and Rs. 600,000 for creating the infrastructure, the members of the community joined hands to meet the investment requirement, contributing as shareholders.

REDP supported the venture with Rs. 250,000 for setting up the FM station which is now jointly owned and operated by the local community comprising of Indigenous Peoples, other ethnic communities and Women’s Cooperative. The FM station broadcasts entertainment programmes, news and announcements for Kharbang and adjoining VDCs and is expected to operate profitably and sustainably through the revenue collection from advertisements and sponsorships. It is one of the first local community FM stations in Nepal set up in such a remote location.