KATHMANDU, April 8: Work on Koshi Corridor Transmission Line has resumed after the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has resolved differences with the locals of Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City.
According to officials of the power utility, the local unit now has no objection over building transmission line on the route finalized by the NEA.
Work to erect 17 pylons was affected for over five months after Dharan Sub-Metropolitan City Office asked the NEA to avoid the Bishnupaduka route, arguing that it has tourism prospects.
Bishnupaduka lies in Ward 20 of the sub-metropolis.
Talking to Republica, Rajan Dhakal, project manager of Koshi Corridor Transmission Line Project, said that work on the project will begin at the earliest. “The local unit has told us that we can build the transmission line as per the original plan,” he added.
The delay in construction of transmission line had left many independent power producers (IPPs) worried as there was the risk of power generated by their projects located in the Koshi corridor going to waste. These include projects having combined capacity of 550 MW in Bhojpur alone.
Though the NEA compensates them for the loss due to delay in construction of transmission line, it is too low compared to their projected earnings.
Many political leaders and lawmakers as well as Chief Minister of Province 1, Sher Dhan Rai, had taken initiative to resolve the issue. But it took months to resolve it.
Chief Minister Rai had formed a panel under Chief District Officer of Sunsari Prem Prakash Upreti to look into the issue and suggest options to avoid the Bishnupaduka route. But the panel concluded that there was no other viable route to build the transmission line. It also concluded that the transmission line won’t make negative impact on tourism potentials of Bishnupaduka as claimed by the sub-metropolis.
Similarly, it also told the provincial government that any delay in construction of transmission line would affect hydropower projects under construction in the Koshi corridor.
The NEA also argued that the route was selected as per detailed project report which was prepared after taking into consideration several issues.
Few political leaders, who were member of the panel, however, refused to sign the panel’s report, according to NEA officials.
NEA’s Managing Director Kulman Ghising had been arguing that change of route was impossible as it would take a long time to complete environment impact assessment and feasibility study.
NEA has already signed agreement to purchase power of 28 projects having combined capacity of 550 MW. These projects are in different stages of development.
The NEA is building transmission line using soft loan of Exim Bank of India. It connects Sankhuwasabha with Sunsari passing through Terhathum and Dhankuta districts.
Along with protest by Dharan sub-metropolis, the project also suffered delay in cutting down of trees to clear the project’s right of way.