Nepal Supreme Court allows construction of 400 kV Hetauda–Dhalkebar–Inaruwa project

The Supreme Court (SC) of Nepal has allowed the construction of pylons at Padariya in Lahan Municipality of Siraha district as part of the 400 kV Hetauda–Dhalkebar–Inaruwa transmission line project in Nepal.

The construction works were halted after a former minister filed a writ petition in January 2019 to change the route of the project and to stop the ongoing work at Padariya of Lahan Municipality, as the project required right of way on forest and private land. After this, the SC also issued an interim order halting the development of eight towers of the project. Under its recent verdict, the SC has scrapped the petition and allowed the state-owned utility, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), to carry on with the construction of the 288-km, double-circuit transmission line project, after paying due compensation to the locals. The project also includes the construction of three 400 kV air-insulated switchgear (AIS) substations at Hetauda, Dhalkebar and Inaruwa. The Dhalkebar substation (commissioned in August 2016) is connected to the Muzaffarpur (India) substation via the 400 kV Dhalkebar–Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line, which will also be connected to the Hetauda and Inaruwa substations via the Hetauda–Dhalkebar–Inaruwa transmission line. Due to the prolonged delay, the key financier, the World Bank, discontinued its funding in November last year. Now the project cost, estimated at USD170 million, is being entirely financed by Government of Nepal. The recent SC verdict will also pave the way for the other NEA projects facing similar issues.