By Sharachchandra Bhandary
Works to develop the 456-Megawatt Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project based in Dolakha are going on in full swing with a target of taking it to the power production phase within one and half years.
The April 25 Gorkha Earthquake had inflicted damages on the access route to the project site, hampering the construction endeavours. The construction works were expedited with the construction of a tunnel way, an alternative route to reach the project site on December 1. The project developer company has set a target of generating power from the project within mid-July of 2018.
Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma who arrived here last Sunday to take the latest stock of the progress on the project development was apprised by Project Chief Bigyan Shrestha that they were fully committed to generating electricity from the project by the next one and half years and working accordingly.
Secretary at the Energy Ministry Anup Kumar Upadhyay and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Managing Director Kulman Ghising accompanied the Energy Minister on the occasion. The construction of power house and dam is going on rapidly.
However, international companies getting the contracts of civil, hydro mechanical, mechanical and electrical works of the project and its transmission line and substation have said that it seemed difficult to produce the power from the project by the target deadline.
Following this information, the Minister directed all bodies concerned to come up with a new schedule for the project construction in the next three days, pledging to leave no stone unturned to address all problems and challenges in this connection. Acting upon the Minister’s directives, the respective international contractors Tuesday presented a revised action plan to the Minister, the project chief and the NEA. The revised action plan disclosed ‘genuine’ technical reasons behind the impossibility of completing the project within the next 18 months, the set target.
According to Project Spokesperson Ganeshman Neupane, letters of commitments have been received from all four contractors companies along with clarification why the project cannot be completed by the one and half year.
Project Chief Shrestha also seems convinced by the contractors’ estimate that it is difficult to produce power from the project within the target as he says their projection is not irreverent when we minutely observe the technical issues relating to this.
“But it is just difficult not impossible. We are solely focused on taking the project to the generation phase by July, 2018, he added. Our whole sole target is producing power from the project by July, 2018, but we are not claiming that the project will be fully completed by that time, he said, refuting opinions made public that the timely completion of the project by July, 2018 not possible. There are hurdles in the implementation of the project and some delay is expected, but we are all committed to generating power from the project by the announced time.”
Under civil work, 85.3 percent construction has been complete. Of the total 16.9 kilometres, 15 kilometres tunnel has been dug. Likewise under the power house, 3213 metres long tunnel has also been dug. The electricity supply with 33 kilovolt power had resumed after days of a halt due to the damages to various electricity poles covering 16.5 kilometres from Singati to Gogar by the earthquake of April 25, 2015.
Of the 11 kilometres road from the power house to the reservoir site, all tracks had been open except for 400 meters track. The 337 meters long tunnel way has also been complete. Under the project, it aims to produce additional 167 megawatts during dry season by constructing a diversion at Rolwaling in the second phase, the project officials said. And towards that end, an agreement has already been reached to make a cost estimation and complete documentation related to call a tender, they said.
The NEA will provide land for the construction of a 220/132 kilovolt sub-station and land accusation process has also been complete, they said. Likewise, of 127 electricity towers to be constructed under the transmission lines, the foundation of 57 has been dug and 66 towers have been constructed.
The total investment of the project is Rs 35. 29 billion from the Employees Provident Fund, Nepal Telecom, Citizens Investment Trust, Rastriya Beema Sansthan and the government.
Upper Tamakoshi generating power by one and half years
By Sharachchandra Bhandary