Residents of Annapurna Rural Municipality in Myagdi to be relocatedA proposed high tension line of the Kaligandaki Corridor is set to pass through three villages in the rural municipality.
The residents of Dhirchyang, Ratopani and Pokharebagar in Annapurna Rural Municipality Ward No. 6 have to be evacuated because a proposed high tension line (220/132/33/11-kVA) in the Kaligandaki Corridor will pass through these settlements.
Locals of the areas, however, have been obstructing the construction of six towers of the high tension line. Dhana Bahadur Baruwal’s house is to be evacuated for the construction of one of the six towers. “This development is against human rights. We have been living here for ages and the government now wants us to up and leave,” said Dhan Bahadur, informing that they will go to court to stop the development work if need be.
The Electricity Act 2049 (1992) doesn’t allow settlements to be built under high tension lines, but in Annapurna Rural Municipality the Nepal Electricity Authority is fixing a high tension line above the settlement. According to the act, there should be around 200 meters distance between a private house or tree and 220 kVA-high voltage line.
But Pokharebagar is not only an old settlement. It is also the administrative centre of Annapurna Rural Municipality. Amid a programme organised at the District Administration Office on Thursday, Santosh Baruwal, a local, said that they would not leave their settlement. He said, “It’s not easy for the local administration to evacuate us from our own settlement.”
Currently, around 15 households of Dhirchyang, Ratopani and Pokharebagar stand to be affected by the ongoing construction work.
The high voltage lines will pass through Tiplyang, Mahabhir, Dhirchyang, Thulobagar, Ratopani, Pokharebagar, Tatopani, Narchyang, Dana, and Gadpar among other settlements along Kaligandaki corridor. “The authority has tried its best to avoid human settlements while fixing high tension lines in the hills,” said Chandan Ghosh, chief of the project, adding that they cannot shift the high tension line to other areas due to the difficult terrain. He said, “We are also providing suitable compensation for locals.”
Most of the settlements near Kaligandaki riverside have been affected due to the installation of the high tension lines and expansion of road along the Kaligandaki corridor. Dam Bahadur Pun, chief at the rural municipal office, said that they are facing problems to carry out development works in the settlements due to the ongoing construction works of large scale projects. He said, “The settlements near the Kaligandaki river also have to be moved because of bank erosion, but the construction of these towers has left us without a safer location in the municipality.”
Gyannath Dhakal, chief district officer, said that the Kaligandaki Corridor 220 kVA is being constructed to connect electricity lines of a dozen hydropower projects to the national grid. “That’s why we requested locals to be flexible if possible,” said Dhakal.