KATHMANDU, SEP 14 –
The Ministry of Energy (MoE) has asked the Finance Ministry to release Rs 330 million to build a 132 kV transmission line from Duhabi to Kataiya.
The MoE is planning to develop the 15 km power line to import an additional 100 MW of electricity from India to ease the projected power shortage this winter.
MoE spokesperson Anup Kumar Upadhya said that the MoE had written to the Finance Ministry for the money to construct the transmission line. “The project needs to be implemented at the earliest to obtain additional energy from India to reduce load-shedding during the winter season,” he added. The board of directors of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) decided to construct the transmission line last week.
The ministry is mulling handing over the project directly to a Nepali consultant of India’s Power Trading Corporation (PTC). “As we need to develop the project on a fast-track basis and are planning to buy energy from PTC, it would be wise to hire its Nepali consultant for the project to prevent possibilities of delay.’
Out of the total length of the transmission line, 12 km will lie in Nepal and the rest in India. An NEA source said the construction project would cost an estimated Rs 350 million. The MoE will use its internal resources to construct it if the process of getting money from the Finance Ministry takes too much time, said an MoE source.
A month ago, the NEA had estimated that load-shedding could be extended to as long as 21 hours a day this winter. The projection prompted Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to order the MoE and the NEA to resort to all possible measures to reduce the power cuts. During a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in the Iranian capital Tehran earlier this month, the PM had asked him to export 200 MW to Nepal.
The MoE is currently working on an action plan to reduce power cuts that has accorded high priority to importing electricity from India. The action plan has also proposed a two-day weekend, handing over the diesel plants in Biratnagar and Hetauda to the private sector and purchasing power from industrial captive plans. A recent study carried out by the MoE found the peak energy demand during the winter would reach 1,157 MW.
MoE officials said that the government should initiate a formal dialogue with the Indian government for the purchase of additional power.
Source : The Kathmandu Post