Kathmandu, January 29
Though the Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project will start production of electricity from next fiscal year, its production is likely to go to waste following the failure of the government to construct the transmission line that will connect the project to the national grid on time.
Construction of the Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Duhabi section of the high-voltage 220 kVA double circuit transmission line has been halted since the last two-and-a-half years due to issues related to deforestation along the path of the transmission line.
According to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), construction works of the transmission line has been intentionally halted by DhirendraPratap Singh, head of the District Forest Office (DFO) in Saptari, who asked the project not to cut down trees along the transmission line’s path that falls in the district.
“We have been in touch many times and are trying to coordinate with the DFO but they have refused to address our concerns. If we are unable to complete the transmission line project on time the electricity generated by the 456-megawatt Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project will go to waste,” said Kul Man Ghising, managing director of NEA.
Ghising added that they are facing such problems in various places where DFOs have been obstructing the construction of high-voltage transmission lines. “We are trying to strengthen the country’s transmission system but it is the government authorities themselves that are obstructing our works,” he lamented. “In such a situation how can we expect to develop the electricity sector of the country.”
As per NEA, Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Duhabi 220 kVA double circuit transmission line needs to be completed within a year.
If everything goes as planned, Upper Tamakoshi will start commissioning power from September-October. NEA plans to supply electricity generated by the project from Gongar of Dolakha where the project is located to New Khimti substation in Ramechhap and further to Dhalkebar substation in Dhanusa.
According to NEA, the transmission line on the eastern and western sides of Dhalkebar needs to be upgraded from 132 kVA to 220 kVA for proper supply of energy generated by Upper Tamakoshi project.
Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary of Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, informed the ministry is working to eliminate such problems related to forest areas and other issues for timely construction of projects. “We are in touch with National Planning Commission (NPC) for needed support to resolve issues related to our ministry.”
Ghimire added that NPC member Krishna Prasad Oli and a team from the energy ministry are holding discussions to resolve the aforementioned issues.
Ganesh Neupane, spokesperson for Upper Tamakoshihydel project, said that they are going to finish the construction of New Khimti substation within this fiscal. “We have planned to operate all six units of the project simultaneously to start generation, however if the transmission line is not completed on time then we will have to operate only three units.”
A version of this article appears in print on January 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.