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The work presents an investigation on the role of reliability consideration in distribution system configuration and planning cost of radial distribution system. A direct search technique is applied for optimum planning which ensures only minimisation of planning cost. Furthermore, the concept of principle of optimality theorem makes the direct method more computationally efficient, reducing total numbers of radial paths. Reliability indices are computed to evaluate the reliability of systems with different feeder configurations. The proposed approach is also tested for optimal feeder routing with variation in number of substations, which provides the information on trade-off between optimality and reliability of the system configuration. Thus, the proposed approach is found to be highly effective in optimal feeder routing considering complex feeder configuration with multiple substations.