PANCHTHAR, March 19: Even after the passing of the fourth extended deadline, the Kabeli Corridor Transmission Line which was to connect the electricity produced in the eastern hilly districts to the central grid still awaits completion. The latest deadline was February 7 this year.
The Indian construction contractor of the project, Jaguar Overseas and Ester JV, is demanding yet another deadline extension.
However, according to the project office, works have reached the last phase and only a final date of completion remains to be fixed.
The contract for construction of 132 KW transmission line between Lakhanpur and Panchthar was finalized nine years ago. Connection from Lakhanpur to Godhak had finished two years ago but work remains to be done on the line from Godhak to Amarpur.
Twelve hydropower projects are being constructed in Panchthar and Taplejung districts, and the power produced by these projects need to be connected to the central grid.
Lower Hewa, Kabeli B1, and Iwakhola hydropower projects have almost reached the final stage of construction and are expected to start generating power soon. If the transmission line is not completed on time, the power produced will go wasted.
Even in the past, electricity produced by Hewa A Hydropower Project was not connected to the central grid.
"We are hopeful that the cables will be installed on time," project chief Dipendra Dwivedi said, adding, "Deadline hasn't been extended yet."
According to him, the plan is to complete construction by the next three months. "Of the total 127 towers between Godhak and Thapatar sub-stations, 125 have already been installed. Only some kilometer wires are left to be joined. Likewise, 31 of the total 93 towers from Thapatar to Amarpur have also been installed."
"Wire is left to be installed along three kilometer distance here. The finishing work of the towers is yet to be done," Dwivedi added. According to him, the contractor company has not deployed adequate equipment, which has halted work.
Madhu Babuy, director of Jaguar Overseas and Ester JV, claimed the work will finish in two months' time. He said the transmission lines up to Thapatar will be installed in the coming week.
However, looking at the current pace of work, the locals are not very hopeful. Even the work of cutting 121 trees in the community forest is yet to be done.
The work on the corridor began in the Fiscal Year 2009/10. The initial plan was to complete the work by 2014/15. A budget of Rs 1.30 billion was allocated for developing the corridor. Sub-stations have been constructed in four places: Lakhanpur, Godhak, Amarpur, and Thapatar.
According to the project office, approximately Rs 1 billion has been spent so far.