Kathmandu, August 23
Delay in the construction work of the substation in Dhalkebar may hit the import of power from India in the dry season even after the installation of the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur 400 KV transmission line has been completed.
The north-south transmission line is going to be completed within two months but the construction of the substation in Dhalkebar, which is necessary for evacuating power to the national grid is yet to be completed.
The 220 KV substation in Dhalkebar is one of the components of the Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa Transmission Line Project that is being implemented by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). Gopal Babu Bhattarai, project chief of the Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa Transmission Line Project cannot ensure when the project will be implemented.
The dry season is nearing but this year Nepal will not be able to import additional power from India through the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur 400 KV transmission line due to lack of substation. The country has been eyeing to import additional 500 megawatt of power from India through this transmission line. The cross-border transmission line has been installed to import power from India in the dry season and export power to the southern neighbour from Nepal in the wet season.
Bhattarai further said that they have set a target to complete the project by December 2016, but there is less hope that the project will be completed in the stipulated time due to the slow progress of the project. The $100 million project was initiated two years back but till date less than 40 per cent of the foundation work of the Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa transmission line has been completed. The three substations — Dhalkebar, Hetauda, Inaruwa — with 220 KV capacity each are also the components of the project. Ironically, NEA has also been developing 220 KV substation for evacuating power through 400 KV double-circuits transmission line.
The 285-kilometre Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Inaruwa transmission line project has been facing numerous problems as it has to string line and lay towers through more than 50 km of forest area and also through human settlements, according to Bhattarai. “This is the major reason behind the slow pace of work.” He further informed that the project will gain momentum once these issues have been settled.
Whereas, the 140-kilometre Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line project is expected to be completed by August this year. Among the 111 towers, the project has laid foundation of 106 towers and has already put in place 32.5 km line, out of the total 42.2 km line, according to Badri Narayan Shah, CEO of Power Transmission Company Nepal (PTCN) Ltd, the company implementing the cross-border transmission line project.
“We would have been able to implement the project within the stipulated time of 16 months but work has been delayed due to the ongoing protests in the Tarai,” said Shah. PTCN, meanwhile, has done an exemplary work. The project will be implemented at a total cost of $10 million, whereas the government had earmarked $13.2 million for the project.
A version of this article appears in print on August 24, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.