Right of way – challenges and solutions for transmission lines in India
The most challenging issue the transmission sector in India is facing today, is the Right of way (ROW), land acquisition, regulatory and environmental clearances for the transmission lines. In India, for many years transmission lines have been constructed without any major ROW issues, however with the increased awareness of formers, land owners, reserved forest, bird centuries, religious structures, it has become increasingly difficult to get smooth and timely ROW clearances. Narrow corridors like chicken neck, multiple EHV lines have created congestion around existing sub stations, leaving almost no space for the future expansion. Engineers have been, therefore left with no option but to work on UHV lines or use the existing corridors for up gradation by higher voltages, such that cost of MW power transfer/metre of ROW is the most optimum.
Similarly metros and densely populated cities have created serious problems for getting new corridors, hence up gradation of lines need to be done in the existing ROW. Since the generating stations are confined to four boundaries quite dispersed and concentrated in pockets far away from the consumption centres, engineers have been forced to think on alternative solutions, which are reliable, technically sound and easy to execute. The future growth in power generation will require many more transmission lines to be constructed which is good news, and on the other hand much tougher challenges in ROW will need a support of advance technology to minimise ROW requirements. Some of the transmission lines in India have been waiting to be commissioned for long time since small sections are stuck up due to forest clearances and some locations are in dispute.
This has resulted into very heavy revenue loss to the authorities and similarly a financial loss to the contracting companies since the project is not closed, stores and site management has to be maintained for indefinite period, retention money is not paid which becomes extremely difficult for the contractors to sustain. Various possible solutions to overcome ROW constraints are described in the Paper.
ROW – Right - of - Way, EHV - Extra High Voltage, UHV - Ultra High Voltage.