Indigenous Tamang and other locals of Shankharapur municipality in the northeast of Kathmandu affected by the Tamakoshi-Kathmandu 200/400 kV Transmission Line and its Bojheni substation today submitted a memorandum to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Nepal Resident Mission. They have called for realignment of the Transmission Line and shifting of the sub-station from their settlement area as planned under the ADB-financed Electricity Transmission Expansion and Supply Improvement Project.
In the memorandum emailed to the ADB with signatures of more than 200 affected locals, the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project Victims’ Struggle Society has alleged that they have not been adequately informed about the impacts of the Transmission Line and the sub-station and the land acquisition has been undertaken through intimidation of the landowners. The construction of the Transmission Line and its sub-station has been halted for the last two years due to the opposition of the locals. They allege that the Project is seeking to construct the Bojheni substation in an unauthorized manner without agreement of the locals. Further, the Transmission Line running over their houses, lands and religious and cultural sites will devaluate their properties, significantly affect their livelihoods dependent on agriculture and tourism as well as the environment and even cause insecurity to their health and lives, which will eventually displace them from their ancestral lands and settlement.
The Struggle Society, in the memorandum, has affirmed that the construction of the Transmission Line and its sub-station violates the fundamental rights of the locals, inter alia, to life with dignity, to property, to information and to language and culture as guaranteed in Nepal’s constitution and laws. Similarly, the rights of the affected indigenous Tamangs to their lands, territories and resources and to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), among others, as per the international human rights laws, including the ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, have also been infringed upon, along with the ADB’s safeguards for indigenous peoples.
The Struggle Society had earlier submitted their demands to realign the Transmission Line and shift the Bojheni substation to the local Ward office of Shankharapur municipality as well as the Ministry of Energy of the Government of Nepal. In line with the demands, the Ward office had also requested the Ministry to relocate the Transmission Line and its substation in July 2021. However, there has been no response from the Ministry or the implementing agency, the Nepal Electricity Authority.