MoEST rejects EIA report

Rejection to delay Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project

Kathmandu, June 3:

The Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST) recently rejected the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report of a proposal for construction of transmission line for the proposed Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project (UTHP), stating that it has ignored the basic principles of environment conservation.

The rejection is going to cause a delay in the Nepal Electricity Authority’s power project with an installed capacity of 309 MW.

The UTHP has proposed to construct a 47-km-long Gongar-Khimti 220 kV transmission line in Dolakha district.

According to the plan, the transmission line will have 105 towers in two regions

— Gongor Substation to Singati and Sigati to Khimti and this would affect 872 households in 13 VDCs and a municipality.

“We rejected the project for now because the EIA report for the project has some basic flaws,” said an official at the Ministry.

According to the official, the EIA report has not included licence for electricity transmission and a recommendation letter from the local VDC and has not clearly mentioned what type of environmental examination was recommended.

Further, the project did not conduct public hearings in the affected settlements, he said.

“So much so, the report has mentioned the name of Ministry of Population and Environment, which has been dismissed long ago. This is only a small but very striking evidence to show how carelessly the report was drafted,” the official said.

There are some inconsistencies in the facts presented in the report. While somewhere the report says there is no source of income from forest products, in the affected region, than sale of timber, somewhere else, the report says it has collected Rs 2.8 million by selling non-timber forest products, he said.

Also, the assessment has mentioned some recommendations but it is unclear as to how they will be implemented. The MoEST has directed the project to bring data related with the directly affected families. “Many proposals for big projects submit flawed EIA reports like this one and the regulations prevent us from approving the proposal,” the official further said, adding that the ministry would return the EIA report with some recommendations.