The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has begun work to construct a 220 kV transmission line in the Marshyangdi corridor to evacuate electricity generated by power plants on the Marshyangdi and nearby rivers. The 112-km power line will connect new substations in Bharatpur and Manang districts whose construction will start simultaneously.
The planned transmission line which is slated to be completed in 2020 will have a capacity to transmit 1,600 MW of electricity, according to Chintan Bikram Rana, the NEA appointed project chief of the Marshyangdi Corridor 220 kV Transmission Line Project. In the first phase, a 67-km double-circuit transmission line will be constructed which will connect Bharatpur with Udipur in Lamjung, said Rana.
Global tenders have been called, and the NEA is preparing to sign a contract with a Chinese company for the construction of this section. The Bharatpur-Udipur section of the transmission line will have 179 towers and two 220 kV substations at Bharatpur and Udipur.
“We will soon invite global bids to appoint a contractor for the construction of the two substations,” said Rana. “We have already completed an initial environment examination (IEE) which has been approved.”
The second component of the project consists of a 45-km double-circuit transmission line connecting Udipur and Ghelachowk in Manang. There will be 93 transmission towers and substations at Ghelachowk and Khudi in Lamjung. The project has already acquired the land needed to construct the substations, according to Krishna Deve Rimal, administrative officer of the project.
In the last fiscal year, the NEA acquired 106 ropanis of land at Ghelachowk and 85 ropanis at Khudi. It already possesses land at Udipur to build the substation.
The project is being executed jointly by the government and the NEA with support from the European Investment Bank. The estimated cost of the project is $92.05 million.
Currently, the project is conducting an environment impact assessment (EIA) for the Ghelachowk-Udipur section of the transmission line as it falls under the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP). Recently, the project carried out a public hearing at Ghelachowk and Udipur.
The NEA’s transmission line project might encounter a hurdle as locals have asked for appropriate compensation before they will provide right-of-way (ROW) allowing the project to put electric cables over their land.
Project developers generally purchase the land where transmission towers are built. But the land above which electricity cables pass is leased from private landowners. In return for the right of easement, property owners will get 10 percent of the value of the land as compensation.
The project affected locals, however, have demanded compensation amounting to 100 percent of the land value. Lately, securing ROW for development of transmission corridors has become a major problem for the NEA.
Last January, the Energy Ministry formed a taskforce to recommend a modality for securing ROW from private landowners to develop transmission corridors. It is yet to submit a report.
From The Kathmandu Post