Kulekhani III to come online in 11 months

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    HETAUDA, NOV 08 –

     Kulekhani-powerhouseAfter much delay, the completion of 14-MW Kulekhani III Hydropower Project is finally in sight. The project office said 70 percent of the work on the project has been completed and the rest will be completed within the next 11 months.
    Project chief Madhu Sudan Pratap Malla said the work would be completed by September 2014 provided there is no obstruction over the period. “If the work continues at the same pace, we will be able to produce electricity in the next 11 months,” he said.
    The contractor has completed digging the 4.5-km main tunnel. Malla said they have also completed 90 percent construction of the pond that will be used to sediment sand and collect water. “The entire work will be over within the deadline,” he said.
    The project’s construction was initiated on April 27, 2008, with an aim to complete within 2012. But the work was delayed as the contractor failed to complete the assigned work in time. Indecision on the part of the Nepal Electrical Authority along with obstruction from the local people further delayed the project.
    The construction of the power house at Sanutar, Bhainse, is also being constructed at a faster pace. The project said about 35 percent work on the power house has been completed and the foundation has been installed.
    China’s Sino Hydro, which is undertaking the construction of the project, said the construction cost has gone up by around 87 percent due to the slowdown in the construction work. Although total project cost was estimated at Rs 2.43 billion five years ago, the revised estimation has reached Rs 4.46 billion. Kulekhani III has the capacity of producing 40.65 GW of electricity annually on an average.
    A 129-m bridge across the Rapti River was constructed two years ago. The bridge is considered the main infrastructure of the project. A total of Rs 2.5 billion has been invested in the project.
    Although work on the project is being carried out smoothly lately, it faced a series of problems in the last five years, delaying the completion.
    The contractor itself pulled out of the project work in January 2012 and returned to work in February only after the NEA agreed to provide compensation of Rs 140 million and extend the deadline by 30 months.
    Obstruction of work by the project staff against the firing of workers by the contractor also delayed the project. In January 2011, construction of a tunnel was delayed as the government did not allow cutting down around 150 trees in the surrounding areas of the Audit No 2 in Bhainse VDC.
    Source : The Kathmandu Post