The Ministry of Forest and Environment has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the Electricity Transmission Project to be implemented by Millennium Challenge Account Nepal Development Board (MCA-Nepal) with the grant funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), USA, and co-funding from the Government of Nepal.
According to a press release issued by Millennium Challenge Account Nepal Development Board (MCA-Nepal), the EIA report, approved on 29 April 2021 by the government with a ministerial level decision, is a major part of the project preparatory works now underway for the construction of transmission lines and substations under the ETP project.
“The achievement is an important milestone to help meet one condition related to site access before the MCC Compact can enter into force,” said Mr. Khadga Bahadur Bisht, Executive Director of MCA-Nepal, “The other important milestone will be ratification of the Compact.”
Bisht added, “The report has established the existing status of the physical, biological, socio-economic and cultural environment within the project’s footprint, and has suggested measures to mitigate the potential impacts.”
The detailed EIA report, prepared according to existing laws in Nepal, is in compliance with Nepal's Environment Protection Act (EPA), 2019 and Environment Protection Rules (EPR), 2020.
The EIA used a robust methodology for data collection and analysis, and included a number of consultations and public hearings in all 30 municipalities/rural municipalities of 10 districts in the project’s footprint.
It has proposed measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate/manage adverse impacts and to optimize project benefits as per Nepali environmental laws and regulations, and international best practices.
As a requirement of the EPA (2019), the EIA includes a detail Environmental, Social, Health, and Safety Management Plan (ESHSMP) to ensure safety of workers and communities affected by the project during implementation. It also includes an Environmental Monitoring Plan, and specifies an environmental audit process to identify any non-compliance including corrective actions to ensure fulfillment of the commitments in the EIA report.Following the approval of the report, MCA-Nepal will now initiate a process to receive the approval for the use of national forest area and removal of trees and plants.
The Government of Nepal and the US Government’s MCC signed a Compact in September 2017 for undertaking two projects that the Government had identified to address major constraints to Nepal’s development.
One of the two projects, the Electricity Transmission Project, also a National Pride Project, will build around 314 km of 400 kV transmission lines and three 400 kV sub-stations. The transmission lines will pass through 30 municipalities/rural municipalities in 10 districts. The Project will also ensure affected local stakeholders benefit through partnership program and strengthen the power sector in Nepal.
The other – Road Maintenance Project – will support maintenance of Nepal’s roads while also introducing a new road maintenance technology in the country.