KATHMANDU, Dec 31:
Civil works of Rahughat Hydropower Project, a priority project of the government, have finally started, three years after the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) awarded contract to IVRCL Infrastructure of India.
If things go as planned, the project will be completed by June 2018.
NEA had awarded contract to IVRCL Infrastructure in December 2010. As per the contract, the contractor had to start works in December 2012. It was supposed to complete the work in 42 months.
However, IVRCL Infrastructure couldn´t start work in time because of the delay in appointment of consultant by NEA. After the consultant was appointed, the contractor applied for compensation citing rise in prices of construction materials because of the delay.
Project officials at Beni said the contractor started civil works this week after it received Rs 39.3 million as compensation from NEA. The board of NEA had decided to pay compensation amount to the contractor a couple of weeks ago.
IVRCL Infrastructure had sought Rs 310 million as compensation.
Though the compensation amount is lower than what the company had sought, it has been learnt that the contractor returned to work following directions of the Government of India.
The 32-megawatt project based in Myagdi district is being developed with soft loan worth US$ 67 million of Exim Bank of India. The civil works contract is worth $31 million.
According to officials, the process to appoint consultant got delayed because of the objection of the Government of India over the appointment of a Chinese consultant for the project in 2011.
Though Water and Power Consultancy Services had issued ´letter to proceed´ to the contractor in December 2012, the latter had denied and approached NEA for compensation.
A study committee led by NEA board member Laxman Agrwal had recommended to NEA to pay only Rs 14 million as compensation to the Indian contractor. Later, the consultant recommended paying Rs 39.3 million as compensation to the contractor.
Officials at the project site office in Beni said preparatory works on construction camp, crushing plant and security camps have already begun. The contraction is also making preparation to build access road and 6-kilometer tunnel.
Meanwhile, the process to award contract for electromechanical works is underway. The package also includes works to build 28-kilometer transmission line to Modi 2 hydropower project in Parbat to evacuate power generated by the project.
After the government put Rahughat Hydropower Project in priority list, independent power developers have expedited process to develop Mistri Khola and Upper Rahughat projects hoping to use access road and transmission line built by the project.
Source : Republica