A major hurdle in the construction of the Kabeli Corridor Transmission Line was removed with locals of Siddhithumka in Deumai Municipality-7 agreeing to allow the project to conduct a survey of the land, property and trees that will be affected.
The national pride project in Ilam district has been held up due to disputes over compensation and the alignment of the power line.
Talks held Saturday between the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), project’s office, Deumai Municipality and locals ended with an agreement to assess the value of the land, buildings and trees that will be affected by the construction of the power line and pay compensation to the residents as per prevailing laws, the NEA said in a statement.
The construction of the 90.2-km double circuit transmission line is divided into three sections. The first section from Damak to Godak is complete, and the third section extending from Phidim (Thapatar) to Taplejung is at the final stage. The second section from Godak to Phidim was delayed due to protests by locals.
Locals of Siddhithumka had demanded 100 percent compensation for an easement on their land and a realignment of the transmission line, blocking the construction of 11 towers in the area.
The transmission line will be used to feed almost 100 MW of electricity produced by the private sector in Panchthar and Taplejung to the national grid.
NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising, senior official Bajra Bhusan Chaudhary, project director Ranjan Chalise and head of the Biratnagar Regional Office Sachidananda Yadav held talks with dissatisfied locals at the project site.
“The NEA is willing to address the genuine demands of locals. If they keep obstructing the construction of this national pride project, the NEA will have to pay a penalty to electricity producers due to delays in the project, and power will have to be imported from India while domestic production will go to waste,” Ghising said.
“According to prevailing laws, the NEA cannot pay more than 10 percent compensation for 9 metres of land on each side of the transmission line as demanded by locals.” The law states that 100 percent compensation will be paid for land where the tower is built and 10 percent compensation for right of way on land over which the transmission line passes.
Chairman of Deumai Municipality Surya Prasad Pokhrel said, “Locals should not create unreasonable demands to obstruct the national pride project.” He added that the municipality was willing to facilitate the construction by removing obstructions.
The construction of the Kabeli Corridor Transmission Line, which began 10 years ago, has been delayed by political instability, negligence of the contractor, obstruction by landowners, difficult terrain and delayed permission for cutting trees.
The project is slated to be completed by mid-July this year. A total of 263 towers will be erected for the transmission line. It will feed the power generated by hydroelectricity projects in Kabeli, Hewa and Mai rivers in Panchthar and Taplejung to the national grid. The transmission line extends over various parts of Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Tehrathum and Taplejung districts.
From The Kathmandu Post