Resettlement Policy Framework to Support Electricity Improvements in Nepal
Tetra Tech supported the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Electricity Transmission Project in Nepal by implementing a Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF).
As one of the poorest countries in Asia, Nepal is in dire need of reliable power to improve its economy and the lives of its people. As part of MCC’s Electricity Transmission Project, 300 kilometers of high voltage power lines, equivalent to one-third the length of Nepal, will be installed across the country, improving access to electricity and facilitating increased electricity trade with India. Construction and installation of power transmission and distribution infrastructure impacts the households and businesses in the rights of way and near these facilities, and project financing requires an RPF outlining resettlement support and compensation for those affected.
Resettlement is a unique and challenging assignment, which requires close coordination with technical design team to avoid and minimize impacts wherever possible through alternative designs. Completing this type of work in Nepal also requires careful logistics and the ability to work with a wide diversity of impacted persons and social issues on the project. [Tetra Tech] successfully navigated this challenging context and did an exceptional job delivering a Resettlement Policy Framework that exceeds MCC’s expectations for this stage of compact development.MCC Program Officer, Environmental and Social Performance
The MCC selected Tetra Tech to prepare a feasibility study and develop the RPF for the project. The RPF establishes the principles, procedures, and institutional framework to guide resettlement activities that will occur as part of the infrastructure improvements. The framework incorporates MCC policy, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standard 5 (PS5), and Nepalese land acquisition laws and policies.
Construction of power transmission lines typically requires only easement restrictions. This project, however, includes land takings—whereby privately owned land is being repurposed for public use by the government for the placement of transmission towers, substations, and access roads. Land takings directly affect communities and residents living in the targeted areas, and the project aims to mitigate negative impacts of any future land takings. Tetra Tech’s resettlement team conducted preliminary screening and scoping activities along the potential and selected transmission line corridors and substation locations to identify and assess potential resettlement impacts and risks.
Working closely with design engineers and environmental specialists, the resettlement team used GIS data and on-the-ground verifications to identify alternative routing to avoid as many structural impacts as possible while protecting important environmental features. Through document reviews and stakeholder consultations, the team developed the RPF for the required resettlement activities. The RPF established eligibility criteria, assessed valuation framework and methodology to define compensation, and proposed implementation and organizational procedures for the Resettlement Action Plan, including the development of a fair and timely grievance redress mechanism and livelihood restoration program for project-affected persons.
As a result of Tetra Tech’s work, the Government of Nepal is poised to minimize negative impacts on individuals and communities in the targeted infrastructure development areas, while providing long-term security of their land, homes, and livelihoods.