Khani Khola Hydropower Project Stalled by Transmission Line Delays

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KATHMANDU, April 1: The construction work of the 30 MW Khani Khola Hydroelectric Projects in Dolakha is facing delays. The delay stems from the incomplete construction work of the 16 km long transmission line running from Singati to the project’s powerhouse.

Lakshmi Prasad Joshi, the project’s engineer, said that 93 percent of the construction work has been completed so far. However, the transmission line construction has stalled due to floods, landslides, and local opposition, which directly impacted the project’s progress. Out of 56 towers to be built in that section, only 43 towers have been built so far. He said that the construction of the remaining towers has been at a standstill for an extended period.

As the ‘right of way’ of the transmission line falls within the Gaurishankar area, the construction of the tower in that area is yet to progress. Green Life Energy is promoting the transmission line.

“Since it is located in the Gaurishankar area, the transmission line has slowed down a bit due to not getting permission to cut trees in that area,” said Joshi, “The process in the Gaurishankar area is slow because we haven’t received permission to cut around 8 to 10 trees, impacting the project with delays from floods, landslides, sometimes road blockages and local opposition. The hydropower project built in Gaurishankar Rural Municipality-7 is in the final stage of construction.”

In the project, which is targeted to be completed within the current fiscal year, the underground tunnel lining, penstock pipe connection, vertical soft connection and other works are left. If the transmission line structure is ready, the goal of the project is to produce electricity commercially from the hydropower project by June 2024.

Earlier, the ‘breakthrough’ of the 2,600-meter-long underground tunnel was achieved. An Indian company is doing the civil and electro-mechanical work of the hydroelectric project. The company is working in a joint venture (JV) with Sotani Construction Company on the civil side, Shine Hydro on the hydro-mechanical side, and Neon Energy on the electro-mechanical side.

Originally set for completion in September 2023, the project has faced delays due to floods, landslides, and unfinished transmission lines, which have also increased its cost. Initially estimated at Rs 4.5 billion, the project’s cost is now expected to rise to Rs 5.5 billion upon completion, according to Joshi. This increase is partially due to interruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the extended construction period.

Source: Republica