Nov 26, 2018-
The Kulekhani III Hydropower Project is finally set to begin trial production in mid-January, more than 10 years after construction began. Subash Kumar Mishra, chief of the 14 MW project, said the plant would be completed in 50 days as more than 90 percent of the tasks had been completed as of Sunday.
“Work has been moving at a fast pace, and we expect to begin trial production by mid-January,” he said. According to Mishra, more than half a dozen technicians and 80 workers have been mobilized daily to complete the work on the stipulated date.
Trial production had been originally slated for mid-August, but the completion date had to be pushed back due to the slow progress of the Chinese contractor, Jheijian Jialin Company. The project’s completion deadline has been extended five times since construction began in April 2008. It was originally scheduled to be finished by 2012.
Work started gathering pace after former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal directed project officials to expedite the construction last December.
According to Mishra, 99 percent of the electromechanical works have been completed. Similarly, construction of a track and other related infrastructure to access the powerhouse has already been completed. The construction of a 129-metre bridge over the Rapti River, one of the key components of the project, was completed nine years ago.
The project will produce electricity by utilising the tailrace water from the Kulekhani II Hydropower Project and water from local rivers. The water will be channelled through a 4-km-long tunnel to the powerhouse to turn the turbines. According to the Nepal Electricity Authority, the electricity generated by the project will be fed into the national grid by extending a half-kilometre-long transmission line from the powerhouse.
The Kulekhani III Hydropower Project is being constructed with domestic investment. The project has encountered cost overruns due to delays, and the developer has spent double the amount of money originally estimated. The initial estimated cost of the project was Rs2.43 billion. It has now ballooned to Rs5 billion. In May 2014, the National Planning Commission declared Kulekhani III a troubled project. Initially, the project had estimated that the construction cost per megawatt of power would reach Rs173.6 million.
As per the revised estimate, it is expected to reach Rs310 million per megawatt.
Source: The Kathmandu Post