Construction work on the 220KV Khimti-Dhalkebar Transmission Line project resumed on Saturday following an agreement between the Dispute Settlement Committee and agitating locals.
The locals of Bhimeshwor-9 had been obstructing the construction work for the last two years, putting forward demands such as higher compensation for their land.
Following the agreement, local Baburam Devkota has received compensation for the acquired land, according to Pralhad Pokharel, coordinator of Dispute Settlement Committee.
Devkota accepted the compensation after he was asked not to obstruct the project of national importance. “It is a good beginning. We have to focus on completing the project as soon as possible,” said Pokharel.
Chief District Officer Dipak Raj Nepal handed over a cheque to Devkota for acquiring his land and two houses for pole erection.
Project chief Shyam Kumar Yadav said only two poles have to be erected in the Khurkot area to expand the transmission line.
Devkota said the compensation amount was lower than the market price, but he accepted it “after all the people requested”.
The World Bank-funded 75-km transmission line project based in Khurkot, Sindhuli, is yet to be completed even 10 years after the construction began. The project remained in limbo after the locals refused to accept compensation offered by the government.
Of the 188 towers under the project, 180 have already been constructed. The eight towers along this 3.5-km stretch had been delaying the project completion.
Pokharel said house owners in Kamalamai Municipality-7 have also prevented the expansion of the transmission line.
The district will be made load-shedding free from Sunday. Last week, the local administration and political representatives agreed to run the transmission line through Kamalamai Municipality 7 on condition that Sindhuli will be freed from load-shedding after electric poles are erected at Khurkot. However, locals have yet to accept the agreement.
“The work has now begun. We will ask other people who have not yet received the compensation to accept it,” said Pokharel. “I think the people will not obstruct the project now.”
CDO Nepal hoped all the people would accept the compensation and would not obstruct the national priority project. Only 37 people of Kamalamai municipality are yet to accept the compensation.
“The state wants to solve the problem without using force. Only a few have not yet come to receive the compensation,” he said.
The locals had been raising the issue of potential health hazards due to the transmission line, but a World Bank team concluded that the project won’t cause any such hazards.
Yadav said they have plans of completing the expansion of the transmission line within the next six months once all the obstructions are cleared.