Plan to set up factories affected: Industrialists
BUTWAL, Nov 24: Industrialists, who have booked plots in Bhairahawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), have been left disappointed as SEZ Development Committee has failed to arrange power supply in the SEZ.
Though all infrastructures in SEZ have been readied, failure to arrange power supply from the nearby substation has forced industrialists to put their plan of setting up factories on hold.
“No decision has been taken to provide power supply to Butwal SEZ yet. Right now we don't have cable to provide electricity service there,” Munindra Thakur, chief of Bhairahawa Distribution Center of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). "This happened because the SEZ management did not take initiative for linking SEZ to the nearby substation in time.”
The Bhairahawa Distribution Center has already informed the SEZ management that it cannot supply electricity from local line as the system has been facing overload problems. “We informed the SEZ management long ago that the power supply has to be arranged from the nearest substation. Now, we don't have cable to provide power supply from the substation,” added Thakur.
Fourteen out of 69 industries that applied for plots in Bhairahawa SEZ have already signed contract with the SEZ management to set up their factories.
They have taken 36 plots. Other eight industries are in process of acquiring 25 plots.
Industrialists have said that they cannot establish factories without power supply.
The agreement that industrialists has signed with the SEZ management states that factories should start production within 12 months of signing the agreement.
A need assessment study says that the Bhairahawa SEZ needs 60 MW of power supply. Factories that are preparing to install plants alone need 25 MW.
Meanwhile, the NEA has said that work to upgrade capacity for supply electricity to the first SEZ of the country was going on. The power utility has put three alternatives for power supply in the Bhairahawa SEZ. First is, laying down cable from a substation that is under construction at Mainahiya. Second is to bring electricity from another substation being built at Dhakdhai. Similarly, connecting power to SEZ from the Butwal-Bhairahawa 33 kVA line is the third option.
But it may take another two years to complete Mainahiya substation, according to Hari Pandey, the chief of Butwal-Bhairahawa-Gorusinge 132 kVA Transmission Line Project.
He further added that the project was planning to publish a notice, inviting bids for the construction of substation by mid-January.
This means it would take at least two years to supply electricity to the SEZ from the Mainahiya substation.
The second option is also likely to take time as no preparation has been done so far for upgrading the Butwal-Dhakdhai Transmission Line.
Similarly, the project to upgrade Butwal-Bhairahawa Transmission Line into double-circuit will also not help the project as NEA has yet to acquire land for the purpose.
"Many industrialists come to inquire about the electricity supply. I have explained all these options to them," added Thakur.
Rajesh Agrawal, who has booked a plot to set up his factory in Bhairahawa SEZ, said he was waiting for the SEZ to arrange power supply so that he would start setting up factory in the SEZ.
Siddharthanagar Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Ram Kumar Sharma said that the government should manage electricity to set up factories in the Bhairahawa SEZ at the earliest.
The Bhairahawa SEZ is spread over 52 ropani of land. The government has invested Rs 750 million in the project so far.