KATHMANDU, April 17: Power supply in the industrial corridor from east of Bara district remains totally cut off since Tuesday after a ferocious storm toppled electricity towers on both sides of the Nepal-India border.
“We will repair our side of the tower by Tuesday. But much is contingent upon India repairing the six towers on its side.” - Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, Energy Minister
Import of 45 MW power from India via Duhabi-Kataiya cross-border transmission line has come to a complete halt after six towers in the Indian side and one in Nepal along the grid collapsed. The destroyed tower on the Nepali side is located in Pauraha near Chandranigahapur in Rautahat along the Forbesgunj-Kataiya section. Six towers along Purniya-Kisangunj section in India have collapsed.
Through the Duhabi-Kataiya line a total of 75 MW power comes to Nepal from India. Given the crisis, only 30 MW is now coming from Purniya-Forbesgunj-Kataiya section of the transmission line.
Due to the storm, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, Dhanusha, Morang and Sunsari districts among others are without power.
“This incident has come at a time when the government was actually trying to cut down load-shedding hours,” Minister for Energy Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat said, adding, “We will repair the tower on our side by Tuesday.”
Mahat informed that the government has given top priority to repairing the tower as the industrial corridor is totally without electricity for the past three days. He also said that the ministry will request India to complete the repair on its side.
Six towers in India, one in Nepal toppled
Industrial corridor facing complete blackout
Indian embassy has no knowledge of the incident
Biratnagar industrialists give 72-hour ultimatum to government
“The resumption of power supply is contingent upon Bihar state government’s action to repair the six towers on its side,” Mahat said.
Nepal Electricity Authority has said that it is already preparing to divert excess power to the affected region within a few days. Director of System Operations Department Sher Singh Bhat said, “Since water level is now rising, we may not face increase in load-shedding due to the incident,” adding, “We will divert excess power to the affected areas as soon as the towers are repaired.”
Meanwhile, the representatives of the Biratnagar chapter of FNCCI, Youth Enterprise Forum (YEF) of Biratnagar and some others met Minister Mahat in the capital Friday and threatened to shut down the factories. They have given a 72-hour ultimatum to the government to resume the power supply.
“There are 500 factories and millions of workers in Biratnagar. What will happen if they hit the streets?” YEF Chairman Suyash Pyakurel told myrepublica.com.
In an interaction with the representatives at the FNCCI office Friday, Minister Mahat promised the agitating groups to divert excess power from other points in the country to the affected areas.
Indian embassy in Nepal has, however, denied any knowledge of the incident. Asked to comment, spokesperson of the embassy, Apoorva Srivatav said, “We have neither been informed by the Nepal government nor by the Bihar State government of the incident.”