My Republica, Sher Bahadur Kc, 20th April 2017, Butwal
The 132 KVA Butwal-Mainahiya Transmission Line Project has fallen into uncertainty after the Department of Roads (DoR) is dragging its feet to give go-ahead to the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to use Yogkoti-Kotihawa section of the Siddhartha Highway.
NEA is building he project to improve electricity supply in Rupandehi district. NEA selected the Yogkoti-Kotihawa section of Siddhartha Highway to build the transmission line as it would be difficult to take the high-tension line through residential area.
According to Hari Pandey, chief of the project, it has already been two months since the Butwal-Belhaiya Trade Route Project sought the approval of the DoR and the ministry for Energy sought the go-ahead from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) to expand the transmission line through the road section. “We, however, have not received permission from the concerned agencies yet. The agencies should take the decision immediately,” Pandey said.
Electricity supply to Bhairahawa and Lumbini areas has been erratic in the absence of sub-station and dependable transmission line, according to NEA officials. NEA even has not been able to provide electricity supply to the newly build Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bhairahawa. “We are building the transmission to address the problem. However, lack of coordination among government agencies has affected the project,” added Pandey.
NEA has selected three routes to build the Butwal-Mainhaiya transmission line. The first one is via Yogikuti-Kotihawa road section, while the second option is from Yogikuti toward the eastern banks of Tinau River. Similarly, the third option is to build the line along the western bank of Tinau River.
According to Pandey, the 19-kilometer Yogikuti-Kotihawa route is the most feasible one. “The project will cost only Rs 800 million if we are allowed to use Yogikuti-Kotihawa section of Siddhartha Highway. The project cost will go up if we are denied that route,” he added. He also said the tender process can be completed within the current fiscal year if the DoR gives go-ahead to use the road section. “If the transmission line has to be taken through other routes, the project will be delayed by around one and half years,” he added.
NEA officials say the locals will now allow the power utility to build transmission line through the eastern banks of Tinau River. “The transmission line project will not make roads unsafe. As our pylons will be about 26 meters tall, they will not affect traffic movement in any way,” they added.
The NEA has already acquired four bigha of land to build sub-station and residential building for employees. It has already announced global tender of Rs 400 million to construct sub-station and residential building.
Pandey said the project can be completed within two years if NEA is allowed to expand the transmission line along the highway.
The project, which started in 2012, has been delayed due to various reasons.