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.
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.”
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.