Kathmandu, September 9
Citing the lack of business viability and electricity market, the Chinese government has refused to build the Galchhi-Kyirong 400 kVA cross-border transmission line solely through grant from China.
This message was conveyed last week when a team of five officials from Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) led by Bajra Bhusan Chaudhary, head of the Transmission Line Directorate of NEA, had visited China to hold discussions regarding the project with concerned Chinese officials.
“The Chinese government has said that Nepal must also invest in the project,” informed an official of NEA who had attended the meeting in China seeking anonymity. “At present, we are calculating the cost of the project and how much we will need to invest in it.”
The State Grid Corporation of China, which is responsible for building the transmission line, had asked the Nepali officials to invest in the project.
Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, further informed that the Chinese officials instead asked the Nepali team about how much electricity that Nepal would buy from China and based on that calculation the Chinese side would make a decision regarding its investment.
“The construction modality of transmission line is yet to be finalised. We have held discussions on the technical modality of the project but nothing has been finalised regarding the investment modality,” he added.
The proposal to construct the Galchhi-Kyirong cross-border transmission line was agreed upon about two years back during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China when he was the prime minister back then too. PM Oli and his Chinese counterpart had agreed to construct the project and both sides started negotiations after that agreement.
The proposed 400 kVA transmission line will be connected to the transmission hub that the government is constructing in Ratamate of Nuwakot. The transmission line is going to be built along the Kathmandu-Kyirong railway line and can be utilised to supply power to run the railway.
A Chinese delegation will be coming to Nepal soon to hold further discussions and take the project forward.
A version of this article appears in print on September 10, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.