The Nepal Electricity Authority has said the construction of Lapsiphedi substation is progressing by addressing the genuine demands of project-affected locals of Shankharapur Municipality-3, Bojini of Kathmandu.
During the land acquisition for the substation construction site, the concerned landowners willingly received the compensation, the NEA said. "All the legal procedures, including initial environmental assessment (IE), are complete."
The NEA said the selected location is the best among the available options.
As the transmission line and substation bids are being accepted and contract work begins, the authority has stated that the substation cannot be moved, the authority said.
It is planned to evacuate electricity from hydroelectric projects built or to be built on the Tamakoshi and Sunkoshi rivers and their tributaries to the Kathmandu Valley and to build a 400/220/132/11 kV substation at Lapsiphedi for local supply.
A 400kV transmission line will be connected to the substation from New Khimti in Ramechhap, through Bahrabise in Sindhupalchok, and to Lapsiphedi.
The new Khimti-Bahrabise-Lapsiphedi 400kV transmission line is in the final stage of construction.
Similarly, a 132kV transmission line and substation from Lapsiphedi substation to Changunarayan in Bhaktapur are under construction. The construction of 132kV is in the process of completion.
In June 2017, the NEA issued a public notice to acquire 170 ropanis of land from 50 landowners for the substation. The authority determined compensation in January 2018.
According to the NEA, all landowners except for one have readily accepted the compensation amount.
Around Rs500 million have been distributed for compensation. A legal problem has arisen in the case of one person who did not receive compensation. Even though the person in question has been using the land, it has not been registered, causing delay in the distbutrition of compensation.
According to the NEA, efforts are being made to solve the legal problem and distribute compensation.
Substations and transmission lines are being built with government and NEA investment, as well as a concessional loan from the Asian Development Bank's 'Electricity Transmission Expansion and System Improvement Project' (ADB).
The construction of the new 400kV Khimti-Kathmandu 400kV and Lapsiphedi-Changunarayan 132kV transmission lines, as well as four substations, is estimated to cost around Rs18 billion.
The NEA signed the first loan agreement with ADB on March 23, 2012 and the second on September 10, 2017 for the project's construction.
Likewise, the first agreement for the construction of Lapsiphedi and Changunarayan substations was signed on December 14, 2017. The contractor worked for one year on the Lapsiphedi substation project.
However, the NEA terminated the builder's contract citing unsatisfactory work and signed a new one on November 19, 2020.
There was no objection in Lapsiphedi during the time the first contractor was working. However, the work was interrupted after the second contractor took up the work.
Due to the obstruction, there has been no progress on the Lapsiphedi substation project. As a result, the contract has been extended until December 2023.
NEA Managing Director Kul Man Ghising said the authority would address the legitimate demands of the locals, such as road maintenance and expansion, water supply scheme, school buildings, construction of monasteries, and employment for the locals during the construction of the project.
Ghising requested locals' cooperation to build the project – the backbone of the power supply in the Kathmandu Valley – assuring a decision on the compensation of the land under the transmission line's right-of-way would be made with the greatest flexibility.
He explained that the transmission line is nearing completion, ruling out the prospect of shifting the substation at the whim of unrelated individuals.
"Activities are taking place to fulfil the political interests of some persons and to take undue advantage at the behest of national and international non-governmental organisations," he said. "Such acts will have long-term ramifications for this initiative and the country."
The construction of four towers in Shankharapur Municipality-3, Kathmandu, faces obstruction beneath the Tamakoshi-Kathmandu 400kV transmission line.
The Tamakoshi-Kathmandu 400kV transmission line, being constructed in two sections, will be used to evacuate electricity generated in Ramechhap, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk districts to Kathmandu Valley.
The first section has 118 towers along the 44km transmission line from New Khimti to Bahrabise. The second section has 122 towers along the 46 km transmission line from Bahrabise-Lapsiphedi.
Also under construction are a 132kV transmission line from Lapsiphedi and Changunarayan and a 132kV substation at Changunarayan.