Tanahun Hydropower Project Makes Major Breakthrough: Main Tunnel Complete, Project on Track for 2026 Finish


Tanahun, 31,March2024 . The main tunnel of the Tanahun Hydropower Project, a 140 MW reservoir-based project under construction on the Seti River bordering Rishing Rural Municipality-1 and Beas Municipality-5, has achieved a major breakthrough.

Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Secretary Gopal Prasad Sigdel and Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and Chairman of Tanahun Hydropower Ltd.  Kulman Ghising jointly inaugurated the breakthrough of the main tunnel by pressing a switch.

Under the package-2 of the project, starting from the source of the reservoir (intake) and ending with the penstock pipe, 1493 m. There is a long tunnel ‘break through’. The diameter of the main tunnel is 7.4 m. will remain Now the concrete lining of the main tunnel will be done. The water from the main tunnel is 213 m. Electricity will be produced in the underground power plant through long penstock pipes.
In the ceremony organized to break through the tunnel, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Secretary Sigdel said that the current progress of the reservoir project, which is being built after a long gap, is better than expected and urged all concerned to complete the main dam construction on time.
“The experience of reservoir projects that are going to be built after Kulekhani gives guidance and more confidence to develop reservoir projects like Dudhkoshi, Nalgarh, Budhigandaki. The project should be completed on time,” he said.
Ghising, the managing director of the authority, said that all parties should take responsibility to complete the project within the stipulated time.
“The major milestones of the project have been completed by diverting the river for the construction of the main dam and breaking the main tunnel. To complete the project with a large reservoir under construction on time, the project management, consultants and construction professionals should all be responsible to speed up the construction of the dam,” he said. He said that the construction of the Lower Seti Hydroelectric Project of 126 megawatts to be developed in the lower coastal area by using the flow and water of the Madi river that will be obtained after the electricity generation from the project will be carried forward soon.
Kiran Kumar Shrestha, the managing director of Tanahun Hydropower Ltd., the promoter of the project, and Shyamji Bhandari, the acting head of the project, informed about the construction progress and the problems being faced.
By dividing the main structures into three packages, the overall physical progress of the project under construction is 54 percent. The overall construction is targeted to be completed by June 2083 (May 2026). Under package-1, foundation digging for the construction of the main dam and construction of a 40-meter high temporary concrete dam (Coffer Dam – Ayavach Mabm) to divert the river for the duration of the dam construction is being carried out in full swing.
The work is being done with the goal of completing the foundation digging work in the second week of June, and then starting the foundation construction of the main dam from the 9th. The overall physical progress of Package-1 is 29 percent.
Song Da Corporation, Vietnam-Kalika Construction (Q.) Ltd. for the construction of 140 meters high dam under package-1. Nepal J. V. is doing it.
Sino Hydro Corporation, China is doing the construction of package-2, including the project’s tunnel, power house construction and supply, and the installation and operation of hydromechanics and electromechanical equipment. After completing the digging of the underground power plant, construction of concreting sweeyard, installation of penstocks and equipments in the power plant are being carried out. The construction of the tailrace has been completed. The overall physical progress of this package is about 55 percent.
Under package-3, KEC of construction of 220 KV double circuit transmission line from Damauli to Bharatpur in Chitwan. International Limited, India is doing it. 34.7 km. Out of the 94 towers on the transmission line, the foundations of 76 towers have been laid and 62 towers have been erected. The overall construction progress of this package is 72 percent.
Under the social development program of the project, Tanahun rural electrification and distribution system strengthening project has been completed through the project management directorate of Nepal Electricity Authority for electrification in Tanahun district.
Under this, two substations of 33-11 KV have been built and put into operation in Ghiring Rural Municipality-4 and Bandipur Rural Municipality-6 for local electricity supply. A 33 kV line has been constructed to bring electricity to the said substations. To make the power supply of Tanahun district sufficient, reliable and of high quality, distribution transformers of different capacities have been installed in different places and 11 KV lines have been constructed.
Under the community development program, 56 projects, including education, health, drinking water, roads, river embankment construction, etc. have been completed in the project affected areas. Seven projects are under construction. Various skill-based trainings have been conducted to increase the livelihood and income of the project affected people.

The Project’s total cost is estimated at USD 505 million, encompassing construction, transmission lines, rural electrification efforts, and interest accrued during the building period. This significant investment is being financed by a consortium of international lenders and the Nepali government. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is contributing USD 150 million, while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the European Investment Bank are providing USD 184 million and USD 80 million respectively. The remaining USD 80.6 million is being managed by the Government of Nepal and the Nepal Electricity Authority.