Locals obstruct transmission line tower work in Khokana

Kathmandu, May 2

It has been 20 years since the locals of Lalitpur district have obstructed and delayed the construction of the 28-kilometre-long 132 kVA Thankot-Chapagaun-Bhaktapur transmission line. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said that the project is a strategic one in terms of it being an additional backbone transmission line of Kathmandu Valley.

NEA has informed that locals of Khokana, Bungmati, Harisiddhi and Lamatar have time and again obstructed the construction works of the transmission line towers.

Kul Man Ghising, managing director of NEA, has warned that if the locals continue to hamper the construction works, the power utility will be compelled to resort to load-shedding in those respective areas.

“The electricity demand in all the three districts of the Valley has been continuously rising, but we are facing problems in constructing the strategic transmission line,” Ghising said, adding that the existing transmission backbone is unable to withstand the new electricity demand. “We are trying to resolve the problem through discussions and if locals are still unwilling to allow construction works, then NEA will be impelled to cut off electricity in those areas,” he stated.

Meanwhile, locals of concerned areas have been asking NEA to change the route through which the transmission line will pass. They have been saying the present route that NEA has chosen will affect the beauty of the historical and indigenous Newar culture in those areas. Locals have also sought 100 per cent compensation for the land that lies within 25 metres on either side of the transmission line. The general practice is to pay compensation for land that lies within nine metres only. The other option that locals have put forward is to lay the transmission line underground.

As per NEA, it has already completed construction works in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur sections.

Earlier, locals had dismantled a transmission line tower in Khokana. A high-level NEA team had visited the site on Wednesday and tried to convince the locals, but to no avail.

Ghising further informed that NEA is constructing a 1,500-megawatt capacity substation in Matatirtha of Thankot. If construction of the transmission line is further obstructed then NEA will not be able to distribute sufficient electricity in some parts of Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, he added.

At present, the state-owned power utility is distributing electricity in Khokana area through the 66 kVA Syuchatar-Patan-New Baneshwor transmission line and it has said that the line is already overloaded.

NEA has already acquired right of way land where the transmission towers will be built in those areas.