KATHMANDU, DEC 22 – The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has written to the World Bank (WB) requesting it to pull out of the Khimti-Dhalkebar Transmission Line Project as it has been immobile for a very long time.
The WB-funded project remains unfinished more than a decade after construction started. The proposed power line is 75 km long and has a capacity of 220 kV.
The NEA has asked the WB to withdraw from the project by December. It said that it would take the project ahead by using different measures after locals of Sindhuli disrupted construction work over land compensation disputes.
Locals had demanded compensation of Rs 100 million for 3.6 hectares of land in the path of the transmission line during the visit of WB Country Director Johannes Zutt to the project site in March.
The project has erected 180 of the 188 planned transmission towers. The eight unfinished electricity pylons lie on a 3.5-km stretch. Their stalled construction has delayed the entire project.
“The WB has its own conditional guidelines. They have a provision of respecting the values of locals in all the projects they are involved in,” said Mukesh Kafle, managing director of the NEA. “We are planning to use our own measures to expedite the construction of the transmission line after the WB pulls out.”
According to Kafle, the WB will respond after getting clearance from its legal department at its headquarters in the US. The NEA believes that the construction of the transmission line should be rushed using all available means. “The issue of transmission lines will turn into a bigger challenge within a few years, and hence it is important that their construction matches the pace of hydropower development that is going on currently in Nepal,” Kafle said.
The NEA has targeted completing the project by July 2015. Since a majority of the locals have agreed to the compensation package and received their money as per the country’s legal framework, Kafle said that it would not be a big problem to convince the rest. “If things move as per our expectation, the project will be completed within the stipulated time frame.”
According to NEA officials, the Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line will reduce system loss by slashing the supply distance to eastern Nepal from the present 300 km to 75 km.
The electricity generated by the 60 MW Khimti Hydropower Project and the 45 MW Bhotekoshi Hydropower Project is presently being routed to eastern Nepal through Kathmandu and Hetauda.
The completion of the Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line is also important to evacuate the energy generated by the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project. More than 70 percent of the construction work at the Upper Tamakoshi project has been completed. The nat- ional pride project is expected to be finished by July 2016.
Since the NEA has also been facing problems from locals to construct a substation to dispatch energy generated by the hydel project, Kafle said that they were planning to add a bay in Khimti to transmit the energy.
Source : The Kathmandu Post