Kathmandu, March 1: With the ratification of the US-aid Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact agreement by the House of Representatives (HoR), the door for the implementation of the project under the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has been opened.
But it will take another 10 months for the construction of the project to begin. Five of the six prerequisites for MCC project implementation have been fulfilled. Conditions related to compensation and land acquisition under the project have not been fulfilled yet.
Khadga Bahadur Bisht, executive director of Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Nepal, said that the door for the implementation of the MCC project is open with its ratification by the federal parliament. “There were six preconditions for implementing this compact. The biggest condition was ratification from the House of Representatives,” he said. “With the ratification, the door is now open for the implementation of the MCC project.”
Executive Director Bisht said that it may take more than 10 months for the projects under MCC Compact to start. "The MCC agreement is ratified by parliament. Now, we have to set a date for the construction of the project to start," he said. "Under the project, we are preparing to move ahead with an action plan to complete the technical works including land acquisition and issuance of international tenders within the next eight to 10 months."
He said that the works of counting trees in the project affected area, approval for felling, selection of contractor company by issuing international level tenders are still pending. "The contract will be awarded in accordance with the MCC FedEx contract," he said. "Bids are invited for at least 120 to 180 days for this contract."
About 313 km of double circuit transmission lines will be constructed under the MCC project. Executive Director Bisht said that it would take some time as the contractor company would participate in the bidding only after conducting a preliminary survey.
"We have estimated that it will take at least eight to 10 months even if all the processes from contractor selection are expedited after inviting tenders." Along with the construction of the transmission line under this project, 77 kilometers of road from Bhaluwang in Dang to Shivakhola in Banke will be repaired based on the latest technology. The road will be 14 meters wide.
After the completion of this project, Nepal will have the infrastructure in place to export electricity to India and Bangladesh. Under this project, three substations of 400 kV capacity will also be constructed.
Executive Director Bisht said that they should go to the field and count the trees. "Once the trees in the project-affected area are counted, we will move ahead with the process of getting approval from the bodies concerned to cut them," he said. "The most time consuming is land acquisition."
He said that the work of land acquisition is challenging but MCA-Nepal will be actively working for this. "The project buys ownership of the land where the tower of the transmission line stands," he said. “For the areas under the transmission line, the project will take the ‘right of way’.”
He added that the five-year construction period for the project could begin once at least 70 to 90 percent of the required land is acquired.