After overcoming the major challenges in achieving progress after the Gurkha Earthquake, the 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi project is now back in motion. However, how project overcomes the latest obstruction created by Khandichaur-Charikot road section will determine the chances of completion of the project in the new proposed schedule by the June 2018 deadline.
Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project overcame all the challenges it faced following the earthquake and completed eighty percent of the construction work. If the working pace of Khandichaur-Charikot road expansion project does not pick up, the hydel project is likely to be delayed again.
Due to the road expansion, the process of transporting heavy electro-mechanical equipment and other construction materials has been affected. As the road is in a bad shape, Upper Tamakoshi is facing difficulty in transporting the necessary equipment for completing its work as scheduled.
“The road is the lifeline of the project. Good road conditions are needed to transport the materials and equipment smoothly. As the project needs to transport over 40 heavy trucks with weights between 70-80 tons, we need good road conditions. Although the pace of transport is slow, we have been transporting them,” said Bigyan Prasad Shrestha head of the project. “To overcome the challenges, the project has already built several storage sites in places like Sunkoshi and other areas on the way to project site.”
Although a new diversion has been constructed over the Sunkoshi River in Lamosangu to transport these heavy loads, the uncertainty about the road-worthiness of the expanded road is creating problems.
If the equipment, worth millions of rupees, do not get transported through the new diversion by June or onset of monsoon, the transport movement will halt for until November.
As the project is facing problems, a team comprising Nepal Electricity Authority Managing Director Kul Man Ghising, investors and contractors inspected the under-construction 456 megawatt Upper Tamakoshi Hydro project at Lamabagar in Dolakha last month.
The project work is going on as per a unified calendar. But the lot-2 work is not satisfactory as the road condition is terrible to carry the necessary equipment to the project site.
Led by MD Ghishing, the team, which made a field observation, included management committee members Harraj Neupane, Mohan Ratna Shakya, Lekhnath Koirala, Nepal Telecom’s Director Kamini Rajbhandari, Insurance Committee’s Ashwini Kumar Thakur and Employees Provident Fund’s Rajendra Kafle.
Although the project officials claim that the project will be completed by June 2018, given the current pace of construction project, the second lot of hydro-mechanical components is likely to create work delays.
“The project has to be completed within the deadline. We are ready to settle problems and hurdles if there are any,” said Ghishing, addressing the project’s contractor company Sino-Hydro Consultant Company and the project management. “If the project requires, I am ready to stay here for months. We should meet the new deadline,” directed Ghishing.
Lot-2 includes turbines among the necessary hydro-electric components.
Meanwhile, Ghising directed the contractor company to dig the remaining 990-metre tunnel in three shifts. The total length of the tunnel is 8.6 km. "The project needs to be completed by schedule. I want to support the completion of the project.”
He also directed civil contractors Sino Hydro to mobilize the necessary manpower to run in three phases to achieve the target by the deadline of June 2018.
With a committed team led by head of Upper Tamakosi Bigyan Shrestha and strong support from NEA MD Ghishing, everything is perfectly going inside the project. In terms of progress also, as much as 88 per cent of the total construction work has been completed. If the road project supports the equipment transport, the hydel project can complete in time.