“Final alignment has incorporated the local people’s sentiment”


Participants keenly watching a presentation on the final alignment route of proposed electricity transmission lines in a stakeholder consultation, organized at Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan City.

Hetauda, June 2019.

A route map of transmission lines travelling through Ward No. 3, 11 and 19 of Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan City.

Audience in the hall was full of confusion at the start of a stakeholder consultation in Hetauda, but seemed satisfied and happy at the end.

Local participants of the event organized in Hetauda were carrying reservations regarding the alignment plan of electricity transmission lines if it would have adverse impact on their private property, public structure or heritage sites. They heaved a sigh of relief when they found the program has addressed their concerns regarding the route and paid attention to minimize the impact of infrastructure development initiation on the project locations.

Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-Nepal) organized the consultation with representatives from local governments and Community Forest User Groups on 13 June 2019 to share the final alignment route of proposed 400 kV electricity transmission lines and preliminary findings of Environmental Impact Assessment Baseline Survey of the area with local stakeholders, and to solicit local perspectives on proposed alignment from them.

The program was one of the important series of consultations with local stakeholder in 30 municipalities through which the transmission line is going to cross.

Raghu Nath Khulal, the Chief of District Coordination Committee, Makawanpur, addressing the meeting.

Introducing the Electricity Transmission Project (ETP) of MCA-Nepal, Rajendra P. Thanju, the Quality Assurance Manager for Social Inclusion and Resettlement in MCA-Nepal, highlighted the importance of availability of green energy for the economic development, and said, “ETP is an initiative to fill the infrastructure gap for the development of energy sector in Nepal with an assistance from the US Government.”

“It is obvious that any development projects have some impacts on physical and natural life, but impact minimization and mitigation have been prioritized in this intervention based on the guidelines of the Government of Nepal and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the donor agency”, Thanju informed the audience.

“I have worked in impact studies and management of high voltage power projects before joining the program, but this is the first project in which such a concerted and serious attention is paid to minimize and or mitigate the impacts, and concerned people are consulted”, he added.

Rajendra Thanju, a Quality Assurance Manager for Social Inclusion and Resettlement in MCA-Nepal, briefing the participants on the Electricity Transmission. Project.

Madhukar Khadka, are presentative of a consultant firm to MCA-Nepal, took the participants a tour of electricity transmission towers, to be constructed at different locations in Hetauda, with the help of a slide presentation, and asked them repeatedly to observe keenly if there were any public structure or human settlement or heritage site under the cable.

“I was worried if our suggestions regarding the alignment of the towers, forwarded earlier with an objective to avoid locations with public importance, were incorporated or not”, Nara Nath Subedi, the Chairperson of Ward No. 19, said, “I found the route has been improved considering our inputs, so I am relieved.”

“We have been victimized by various transmission lines time and again. Previous projects have acquired our land without providing compensationin a satisfactory rate. One transmission line has not provided us the compensation yet. The story shouldnot be repeated by this project”, Manju Roka, the Secretary of Dalit Women Association, Makawanpur, added, “Development is must, but it shouldn’t be achieved at the cost of people’s interest.”

Responding to her and othersimilar concerns raised by most of the participants, Shyam Upadhyaya, theQuality Assurance Manager for Environment, Health and Safety in MCA-Nepal,mentioned, “The acquired land and shifted private structures will be fairly compensatedbased on a rate, determined by a Compensation Fixation Committee, formed under the Chief District Officer. Any land lying under transmission lines will also be compensated in lieu of some restrictions on their use.”

“We don’t have nice experience about the replantation of trees. While cutting trees in our community forests to clear land for the construction of such infrastructure, projects commit nicely to compensate with sufficient replantation, but in practical, they don’t”, Sadhu Ram Chaulagain,the Makawanpur President of Community Forest User Groups’ Federation, “This project should ensure the replantation of trees and conservation of them.”

A participant commenting on the alignment rout of the proposed transmission line.

“I was having a negative thought on the project before joining this meeting. Now my confusions and fears have been cleared well. I have found the present version of alignment consisting enough positive changes”, Nawa Raj Subedi, the Chairperson of Ward No. 19, stated.

The transmission line arrives in Hetauda Sub-Metropolitan City from Ratmate crossing some hills in Galchhi, Thakre, Kailash and Rakshirang, and a 12.19 KM long part of the transmission line travels through Ward No. 3, 11 and 19 of the Municipality. There will be total 41 towers inthese wards.

MCA-Nepal is in the preparatory phase to implement the US Government Grant of US $ 500 million and Government of Nepal’s contribution of US $ 130 million in electricity transmission line construction and road maintenance in various parts of Nepal. The Government of Nepal has declared the Electricity Transmission Project, which is responsible for the construction of 313 KM of 400 kV double circuit transmission line as a ‘Project of National Pride’.

“While the nation gets electricity, can we have metal poles?”

Representatives participating attentively in a consultative meeting, organized in Bandipur Rural Municipality on 5 June 2019.

Bandipur, 28 June 2019.

“We are now aware and ready to make contributions for the national development, and we are happy to have the opportunity, but we would be happier if our concerns are also addressed in the course of implementing the program.”

It was a comment forwarded by Karuna Gurung, the Vice-Chairperson of Bandipur Rural Municipality, after listening about the Electricity Transmission Project (ETP) of Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-Nepal) and watching the route map of the transmission line stretched above Bandipur Rural Municipality.

MCA-Nepal organized the stakeholder consultation meeting to disclose the alignment and to share preliminary results of Environmental Impact Assessment baseline survey at the office of Bandipur Rural Municipality with an aim to brief representatives of the local government and Community Forest User Groups on 5 June 2019.

This was one of 30 stakeholder consultation meetings that MCA-Nepal organized in June 2019 to ensure preparedness of the community for implementing its transformative project in the power sector. This activity was part of MCA-Nepal’s commitment to transparency and community outreach.

“All of our villages are connected with electricity, but electricity poles are made of wood. We have to change them every year, which is a troublesome work. It would be great if you replace them with metal ones, ” Santa Bahadur Gurung, the Chairperson of Ward No. 6 of Bandipur Rural Municipality voiced his expectation.

Shyam K. Upadhyaya, the Quality Assurance Manager at MCA-Nepal, briefing the participants on the Electricity Transmission Project.

Highlighting the need of such transmission line with high capacity, Shyam K. Upadhyaya, the Quality Assurance Manager at MCA-Nepal, said, “Nepali Private Sector is producing electricity, but there is a lack of transmission line with sufficient capacity to carry the energy all over the country. So this government project is particularly important to distribute power across the country.”

Madhukar Khadka, a representative from a consultant firm who conducted baseline survey for MCA-Nepal, mentioned, “We have drawn the alignment of transmission line route keeping in mind that there should be minimal disturbance to the physical, biological, human, religious and cultural heritage sites.”

Displaying an electronic map of the alignment route on a wall, he requested the participants of the consultation meeting, “Please watch carefully if there is any human settlement, religious or heritage site under the electricity cable or not! Although we have technically put a lot of attention to detail, your input is very valuable to validate that there are no major mistakes in our understanding of your locality. If there are places to correct, we will definitely try to do that.”

“We appreciate the way you have taken the route, and thanks for the same. But how are you going to compensate the land that is going to be acquired for the construction of towers?”, Krishna Prasad Lamichhane, the Chairperson of Ward No. 2 of Bandipur Rural Municipality, questioned.

Mr. Upadhyaya addressed his query, “As per Nepal’s Land Acquisition Act, 2034 BS, there will be an independent Compensation Fixation Committee, to fix the price of land under the leadership of the Chief District Officer. We will be providing compensation according to the decision of this committee. Lands acquired for towers will be compensated, and lands under the right of way will be provided pre-defined proportional per cent of its value as the ownership of such lands will remain with the owner.” 

Madhukar Khadka, a representative from a consultant firm, showing the alignment route of the transmission line crossing Bandipur Rural Municipality. 

Out of six wards in the municipality, four wards, i.e. Ward No. 2, 3, 4 and 6 are going to be affected by the activities of the project.

The ETP of MCA-Nepal is going to install 23 electricity transmission towers, out of total 1039 towers, in Bandipur Rural Municipality under its program to construct a 400 kV electricity transmission line from Lapsephedi to New Butwal, a border city with India. A length of 7.1 KM of electricity transmission cable, out of total 313 KM, falls in the area of the municipality.

Millennium Challenge Account Nepal, an accountable entity formed under Development Board Act, 2013 by the Government of Nepal, is gearing up its consultations for constructing electricity transmission lines and maintaining roads mobilizing Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) funding of US $ 500 million and Government of Nepal’s contribution of US $ 130 million.

Nguyen wrapped up Nepal visit with an enthusiasm

Mrs. Caroline T. Nguyen, Managing Director for Europe, Asia and Pacific, and Latin America (EAPLA) programs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) interacting with the team of Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-Nepal on 26 June 2019 .

Kathmandu, 26 June 2019.

Mrs. Caroline T. Nguyen, Managing Director for Europe, Asia and Pacific, and Latin America (EAPLA) programs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC) has stated ‘Nepal Compact’ as an ambitious and a model program in the context of uplifting the economy of a developing country like Nepal.

She was interacting with the team of Millennium Challenge Account Nepal (MCA-Nepal), the accountable entity to implement the US $ 630 million Nepal Compact program in Nepal, on Wednesday before leaving Nepal concluding her two-day visit. The program is going to construct 313 KM of 400 kV electricity transmission line and renovate 300 KM of strategically important road of Nepal. 

Mrs. Nguyen mentioned, “MCA-Nepal has an opportunity to create a new identity for itself to implement a complex project on budget and on time within a span of 5 years. The project will ensure transformative changes in the power sector in Nepal that has immense potential to transform the way development is done in Nepal, and generate confidence and spur private sector investment.”

Mrs. Nguyen, an experienced hand in providing oversight and guidance for the development and implementation of nearly US $ two billion worth of programs focused on capital investments and policy reforms, expressed her belief that the successful implementation of the program was going to be a message and a model to the international community.

She uplifted the team spirit of MCA-Nepal colleagues who have shouldered the responsibility to implement a time-bound, complex and ambitious program in Nepal, and stated, “You are on the frontline as a catalyst for change.”

Mrs. Caroline T. Nguyen, Managing Director for Europe, Asia and Pacific, and Latin America (EAPLA) programs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) highlighting the importance of Nepal Compact.

“While the Electricity Transmission Project is opening power sector for new investments, the Road Maintenance Project is going to be a model as a higher partnership”, she added.

Mrs. Caroline T. Nguyen, Managing Director for Europe, Asia and Pacific, and Latin America (EAPLA) programs for the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) having a look at the organogram of MCA-Nepal.

Mr. Khadga Bahadur Bisht, the Executive Director, MCA-Nepal, welcomed her in Nepal and reinforced his commitment to complete the program successfully.

She was in Nepal from 25 to 26 June 2019 in a mission to support the compact. She attended strategically significant meetings with senior government representatives of Nepal.

MCA-N is in a preparatory phase of building a 400 kV transmission line from Lapsephedi, Kathmandu to Sunwal, Nawalparasi, further augmented by a cross-border interconnection to the transmission network to Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India in order to improve the availability and reliability of electricity in Nepal.  The Government of Nepal has designated the project as a Project of National Pride. The program is also going to facilitate the maintenance of up to 305 km of roads in Nepal’s Strategic Roads Network and provide a matching fund to encourage the expansion of Nepal’s road maintenance budget.  The roads maintenance project will also test new pavement recycling technologies in Nepal for the first time.

Mr. Bisht joins MCA-Nepal as the new Executive Director

Mr. Troy E Kofroth, the Resident Country Director of MCC Resident Country Mission, welcoming Mr. Khadga Bahadur Bisht, who began his tenure as the Executive Director on February 11, 2019.

Kathmandu, February 11, 2019.

Mr. Khadga Bahadur Bisht joined Millennium Challenge Account-Nepal (MCA-Nepal) today as its new Executive Director. MCA-Nepal is an agency of the Government of Nepal formed to manage programs utilizing a $500 million grant from the U.S. government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

As Executive Director, Mr. Bisht manages an Electricity Transmission Project and a Road Maintenance Project with combined budgets totaling $630 million, including $500 million in the U.S. government’s MCC funding and $130 million pledged by the Government of Nepal. 

Mr. Troy E. Kofroth, MCC’s Nepal Resident Country Director, welcomed Mr. Bisht and wished for his success in achieving the goal of the projects.

Mr.Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, the National Coordinator of the Office of the Millennium Challenge Nepal (OMCN), briefly highlighted on the achievements the agency gained so far, and expressed the belief that Mr. Bisht’s leadership would implement the programme in a timely manner.

Expressing his pleasure to join the organization, Mr. Bisht said,“I am honored to be a part of the team, which is going to contribute for the infrastructure development of the nation in an historic way.”

Mr. Bisht brings more than 25 years of experience in leadership positions working for international and national organizations, mainly in the infrastructure and power sectors. Prior to taking up this appointment, he served as Plant Manager and Chief of Stakeholder Management/Government Relations for Himal Power Limited’s Khimti I Hydropower Project. 

He is also the former President and a founding member of the Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal (IPPAN), a non-profit organization that facilitates private sector investments in Nepal’s hydropower infrastructure.

Under the Electricity Transmission Project, MCA-Nepal plans to build total of over 300 km of 400 kV transmission lines through the mid-hills of Nepal with segments from Lapsiphedi, Kathmandu to Butwal in Rupandehi as well as to Hetauda in Makwanpur. The Electricity Transmission Project has been designated by the Nepali government as a Project of National Pride and also includes building three substations. 

MCA-Nepal’s Road Maintenance Project will facilitate the maintenance of up to 305 km of roads in Nepal’s Strategic Roads Network and provide a matching fund to encourage the expansion of Nepal’s road maintenance budget.  The roads maintenance project will also test new pavement recycling technologies in Nepal for the first time.