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Kabeli Corridor Transmission Line: World bank pulls out from project

- BIPLAV BHATTARAI, ILAM
The project requested the government to allot Rs 350 million. However, the government allotted only Rs 130 million in the current fiscal year

Dec 17, 2017-The completion date of the Kabeli corridor has been affected after the World Bank—a Washington based multilateral lending agency—pulled its assistance due to the delay in construction work. It will push back the completion date of the 132 kv transmission line which would have connected around 150MW of electricity produced in various hilly districts to the national grid. 

Although the power line should have been completed by the end of 2013, the project deadline was extended time and again till December 2016. However, after the 

project didn’t meet the December deadline, the multilateral lender pulled out from the project. 

According to Dipendra Raj Dwibedi, project chief of the power line, the fund allocated by the government from this fiscal year’s budget will not be enough to complete the transmission line project. The project requested the government to allot Rs 350 million. However, the government allotted only Rs 130 million in the current fiscal year. 

The political instability, negligence from the contractor, difficult terrain and dispute with the locals over the right of way to erect tower and pull the power lines have been the major reasons behind the delay in project development. “If the adequate budget is allocated and dispute regarding the right of way is resolved, the project will be completed by May 2018,” said Bhattarai. “We are currently erecting 18 towers. However, the construction of 13 towers has yet to be started due to dispute with the locals of Siddithumka and Chamaita of Ilam.” 

Although the project office is trying to resolve the dispute by holding talks with the locals, it has not materialised yet. 

The project construction started in 2011 with loan and grant financing of $38 million from the World Bank. After the project failed to meet the completion deadline despite the repeated extension, the multilateral lender dropped the project. The project included 90km-long 132kv double circuit transmission line connecting Damak with Amarpur of Panchthar. 

Out of it, only 34km-long section connecting Godak of Ilam with Lakhanpur 

of Jhapa has been completed. Around 63MW of electricity produced by various 

projects in Ilam has been transmitted to the national grid via substation at Godak. Apart from Godak, the construction of substations at Lakhanpur, Thapatar of Panchthar and Taplejung has been completed. 

Due to delay in construction of the power line, hydropower projects in Panchthar and Taplejung are facing difficulty to evacuate electricity to the national grid.   

Published: 17-12-2017 08:37

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