Kathmandu, January 21
At a time when the industries selected to set up plants in the Bhairahawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) are waiting for grid connectivity with adequate power supply to operate their factories, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) today issued a disappointing statement that the industries in SEZ may be deprived of adequate power supply for next two years.
The power utility has stated that Bhairahawa SEZ and SEZ Development Committee have not taken any initiative to develop a substation at Bhairahawa SEZ.
NEA will provide 33 kV dedicated line to Bhairahawa SEZ from its Dhagdhagi substation, which is at a distance of 15 kilometres from the SEZ.
NEA has criticised Bhairahawa SEZ for blaming the authority for lack of grid connection with adequate power as the SEZ has not initiated the process to set up a substation to distribute power to individual plants.
Managing Director of NEA, Kul Man Ghising, today, said that NEA will soon complete the works to instal 33 kV line from Butwal (Jogikuti) substation to Dhagdhagi substation. Works of the double circuit (each circuit of 33 kV) transmission line from Butwal to Dhagdhagi will be completed by mid-April, as per Ghising.
“NEA is responsible to install 33 kV dedicated line for the SEZ from Butwal substation to Dhagdhagi, but the SEZ itself has to instal a 15-km 33 kV transmission line from Dhagdhagi to the SEZ and distribute it to the individual industries through their 33/11kV substation.”
NEA has initiated the works to instal 33 kV separate line to the SEZ from Butwal substation apart from another 33 kV line that was planned for local distribution from its Dhagdhagi substation.
Officials of NEA have said that though the Ministry of Industry has allocated budget to SEZ for electricity connection from NEA’s Dhagdhagi substation, the SEZ has done nothing to set up a substation and has just set up 400 kV transformers in each plant for electricity distribution.
“They have just been blaming NEA for the delay and are doing nothing to expedite the works from their own side,” said BishwaRanjan Mishra, western division in-charge of NEA’s Distribution System Augmentation and Expansion Project. The project is responsible to instal dedicated 33 kV transmission line from Butwal substation to Dhagdhagi for the Bhairahawa SEZ.
“We have been facing problems from the locals to erect poles and we have invited the authorities from SEZ to deal with the local problem but they have not shown any concern regarding the hassles,” mentioned Mishra.
Locals have been asking NEA to reroute the transmission line in Bharauliya-Dhagdhagi section, however, SEZ Development Committee has not coordinated with NEA to deal with this problem. “We are coordinating with Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation and local representatives to resolve the hassles and will be able to instal the transmission line from Butwal to Dhagdhagi within 45 days once the local issue is resolved,” informed Ghising. “We can expect the works to be completed by mid-April.”
The SEZ Development Committee has selected 19 firms to set up industries within SEZ, however, they have not started to set up their plants citing lack of electricity. However, NEA has said that it has provided electricity required to construct the plants. The government has developed the SEZ to address supply side constraints in a bid to boost exports and industries established in SEZ need to export 75 per cent of their production.
Chandika Prasad Bhatta, executive director of SEZ Development Committee, has said that they have been coordinating with the power utility and stakeholders to expedite the works of power supply to SEZ. He said that the Bhairahawa SEZ will expedite the works to set up distribution substation in the SEZ.
A version of this article appears in print on January 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.