Page last updated at 07:53 GMT, Friday, 26 December 2008

Nepal imposes severe power cuts

Kathmandu skyline
Nepal produces only about half its electricity needs

Nepal has increased the length of daily power cuts to between 12 and 14 hours because of a shortage of electricity.

The Maoist-led government has declared a national power emergency and decided to set up diesel-operated power plants to help meet demand.

The Minister for Water Resources, Bishnu Poudel, said the new power cuts would come into effect from next week.

The situation has worsened after a fall in the level of reservoirs supplying water to hydro-electric projects.

A fortnight ago, Nepal's government announced that consumers would face 10 hours of daily power cuts after declaring the country's utilities in crisis.

Nepal produces only about half of its electricity needs and the amount of power that the country imports from neighbouring India is not enough to make up the shortfall.

The decade-long Maoist insurgency, which ended two years ago, hampered development work in Nepal, including the building of new power plants.

The Maoists became the largest parliamentary party in April elections after ending a decade-long civil war.

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