PM Inaugurates Marsyangdi-Kathmandu Transmission Line and Matatirtha Substation

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Kathmandu, 28th Apr 2024. The inauguration of the Marsyangdi-Kathmandu 220 kV double-circuit transmission line and the 220 kV Matatirtha Substation, constructed to bring hydropower electricity from the Marsyangdi River basin to Kathmandu Valley, has been completed.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ inaugurated the transmission line and substation at the site constructed by Chandragiri Municipality-8 in Kathmandu. The Matatirtha Substation, with a capacity of 220/132 kV and 320 MVA, is the largest substation hub for electricity supply to Kathmandu Valley.

In the program, Prime Minister Prachanda mentioned that the positive growth in the development of hydroelectricity, as evidenced by the statistics, confirms that the country has entered a new era of development. He emphasized that this should be taken positively to move forward.

Prime Minister Prachanda, speaking at the investment conference that began today, also mentioned that hydroelectricity is the most suitable sector for investment in Nepal, and due to the investment-friendly policies adopted by the government for its development, it has attracted both domestic and foreign investors. He also confirmed this with the participation of foreign investors in the investment conference that started today.

He also mentioned that starting from the next fiscal year, Nepal is set to export 40 megawatts of electricity to Bangladesh, as a trilateral agreement between Nepal, India, and Bangladesh is nearing finalization.

To advance development projects such as transmission lines and address issues related to the use of forest land and tree cutting, it was emphasized to provide guidance to the concerned authorities so that projects can move forward without encountering practical and developmental obstacles and without being environmentally detrimental.

Prime Minister Prachanda stated, “There are significant problems regarding the use of forest land, tree cutting, and land acquisition for the construction of transmission lines. The cost and time of the projects have increased. Such problems not only make projects more expensive but also lead to actions that alienate the desire of the people for development and cause delays. In some cases, we have also raised these issues in international forums through our commitments. However, using this as a reason should not halt the development projects. It is crucial to make important decisions to advance projects, ensuring a balance between development and the environment.

To mitigate such seasonal fluctuations in the power system, the government has moved forward with the construction process of the 1,200-megawatt Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project, the 1,063-megawatt Upper Arun Hydropower Project, and the 670-megawatt Dudhkoshi Hydropower Project, all equipped with reservoirs.

Minister of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, mentioned that under the government’s hydroelectricity program, investments from the federal, provincial, and local levels, as well as public-private partnerships, have been initiated to advance the construction of hydroelectric projects. He highlighted efforts to organize the sector of electricity generation, transmission, and distribution for effective management.

Nepal’s Ambassador to Norway, Torun Dramdal, highlighted Nepal’s significant achievement in the construction of electricity transmission and distribution lines. He mentioned that such infrastructure development helps reduce reliance on imported gas used for cooking, encouraging consumers to utilize electricity at a lower cost.

Vice President of the Asian Development Bank, Yin Yin Nyein, emphasized that the construction of transmission lines and substations constitutes a crucial pillar in the development of Nepal’s energy sector. She reiterated the bank’s commitment to supporting energy sector development, indicating a continued readiness to provide assistance.

Managing Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority, Kulman Ghising, highlighted that one of the main challenges in the construction of hydroelectricity and transmission lines is the difficulty in land acquisition and tree cutting, which has hindered the timely and cost-effective completion of development projects.

Managing Director Ghising stated, “If the construction of a transmission line takes a long time to complete, it feels like we’ve won a war. If we cannot emerge from such situations quickly, there is a minimal possibility that the government and the people will see the rapid development they desire. Therefore, it is essential to make comprehensive changes in laws and regulations to foster development-friendly environments. Additionally, it is necessary for the concerned authorities to behave in a development-friendly manner.

The construction of the Marsyangdi-Kathmandu 220 kV double-circuit transmission line from the Marshyangdi River hydropower project in Tanahun’s Abukhaireni to Kathmandu has been completed, starting from the Markichok substation in Tanahun to Kathmandu.

The transmission lines constructed in Tanahun, Gorkha, Chitwan, Dhading, and Kathmandu are 82 kilometers long. A total of 233 towers have been constructed along the transmission lines. These transmission lines are currently operational at 132 kV.

The construction of the Trishuli-Kathmandu 220 kV transmission line, which extends from Markichok to Bardibas in Chitwan, has been completed. This transmission line has been integrated into Bardibas by joining it with the Marshyangdi-Kathmandu transmission line and the hydropower projects of the Trishuli River basin, all of which are being brought to Kathmandu. Both the Trishuli and Marsyangdi transmission lines have been integrated into Bardibas in a multi-circuit (four circuits) configuration and connected to the Matatirtha Substation.

Approximately 1,000 to 1,100 megawatts of electricity from the Marshyangdi-Kathmandu and Trishuli-Kathmandu transmission lines will be integrated into Bardibas. From there, approximately 2,000 megawatts of electricity will be included in the Matatirtha Substation through a multi-circuit transmission line. Since electricity generated from the Marshyangdi and Trishuli river basins will flow, addressing the future electricity demand of Kathmandu Valley and improving the country’s overall electricity system, the transmission lines and Matatirtha Substation are the backbone of the future.

For the construction of the Marshyangdi-Kathmandu transmission line, an agreement was reached with the Indian company Tata Projects Ltd. on Ashadh 16, 2073 (June 30, 2016). The contract was valued at 100 million US dollars and 763 million 63 lakh Nepalese rupees. The project construction started on Bhadra 9, 2073 (August 25, 2016).

Construction was delayed in various places along the route of the transmission line due to local obstructions and the COVID-19 pandemic. The construction was particularly affected in Pipaltar, Ward No. 7 of Siddhalek Rural Municipality, Dhading, due to local obstructions, causing a delay of approximately two years.

After the company awarded the contract for the construction of the Matatirtha and Markichok substations, when the performance of the company was not satisfactory, the contract was terminated in Poush, 2077 (December 2020), and a new contract was signed with China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) to continue the remaining construction works. Among these, the construction of the Matatirtha substation has been completed, while the work is in the final phase at the Markichok substation.

The construction of the Marshyangdi-Kathmandu transmission line has commenced with investment from the Nepalese government, grants from the Norwegian government, and financing from the Asian Development Bank. The estimated cost of the project is around 8 billion Nepalese Rupees.