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China proposes to construct cross-border transmission line

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Mar 21, 2017-

China has proposed to build a cross-border power transmission line to permit electricity trade between Nepal and its Tibet Autonomous Region.

Officials of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) had visited Nepal three months ago to hold discussions with the Energy Ministry and the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to build a 400 kV power line linking Rasuwagadhi and Kyirong across the northern border.

During the talks, NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising asked the Chinese delegation to extend the proposed transmission line further south up to Galchhi.

This would make it more useful as it could be connected to the Nepal-India cross-border transmission line, he said.

“Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has proposed to extend the Muzaffarpur-Dhalkebar-Hetauda transmission line to Galchhi in Dhading district,” an NEA official quoted Ghising as saying. “So, if you build the cross-border transmission line up to Galchhi, we will have a foundation for trilateral electricity trade.”  

SGCC officials also asked about Nepal’s plan to use the proposed transmission line to import energy from China in the future.

Nepali officials attending the meeting said that the link with China was needed as an alternative to power lines linking India. They added that the transmission line would be necessary for the railway line that China has proposed to build to link Kathmandu.

After the meeting, the NEA appointed Komal Atreya, chief of the monitoring department, as the focal person to provide necessary information to the Chinese side to conduct a feasibility study.

SGCC officials said that they were about to complete a feasibility study report and would send it to Nepal in April. The NEA is planning to take the project to the next level after receiving the report. 

An NEA source said Nepal should take the initiative at the highest level in order to bring the project to fruition. “Although Energy Minister Janardan Sharma is keen to develop this transmission line, it will be difficult to make it happen unless the initiative is taken at the prime minister level,” said the source. 

The Foreign Ministry said that the planned cross-border transmission line would be discussed during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s upcoming visit to China.

However, a highly placed Foreign Ministry source said it was unlikely that discussions during the prime minister’s visit would make any headway. 

Nepal and China first signed a pact to develop cross-border transmission lines during former prime minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China last year. Subsequently, the Chinese government appointed SGCC as the focal institution to take the issue further. Progress has been slow due to to the lethargy of the Nepali side.

Published: 21-03-2017 10:51

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