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Inspection Panel Registers Request for Inspection of Power Project in Nepal

The Inspection Panel on November 30, 2021, issued a Notice of Registration for a Request for Inspection of Nepal-India Electricity Transmission and Trade Project and its Additional Financing in Nepal.

The project has the development objective to “(a) establish cross-border transmission capacity between India and Nepal of about 1000 MW [megawatts] to facilitate electricity trade between the two countries; and (b) increase the supply of electricity in Nepal by the sustainable import of at least 100 MW.”

On October 18, 2021, the Panel received a Request for Inspection related to one component of the project – the design, construction, and operation of Hetauda-Dhalkebar-Duhabi 400 kilovolt transmission line in Nepal – from 49 community members living in the project area. On November 17, 2021, the Panel received a letter signed by 51 community members designating an advocate from the Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples to represent them. The Requesters have asked the Panel to keep their identities confidential. 

The Requesters state that a transmission line financed under the project was rerouted from its originally planned route and is now passing through their densely populated community, which includes indigenous and non-indigenous residents. They claim that they were neither consulted nor provided any information about the project. According to the Request, the transmission line and its towers cause different types of harm as they adversely affect community members’ homes, schools, cultural and religious sites, agricultural lands, environment and economic activities, and threaten their safety.

The Panel’s registration implies no judgment whatsoever concerning the merits of a Request for Inspection. Bank management must provide the Panel with a response to the issues raised in the Request for Inspection by January 6, 2022. After receiving the response and engaging with the relevant stakeholders, the Panel will make a recommendation to the Board of Executive Directors on whether the matter should be investigated. More