NEA threatens to fire slowpoke contractor

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    Feb 27, 2018-The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has threatened to fire and blacklist the Chinese contractor hired to execute the electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical works of the Kulekhani-III Hydropower Project if it does not work faster.

    Managing Director Kulman Ghising of the state-owned power utility told the Post that they were considering dismissing Jheijian Jialin Company because they were fed up with its deliberate delays. The NEA is the owner of the 14 MW hydropower project located southwest of Kathmandu.

    “We have repeatedly asked them to increase the pace of work,” said Ghising. “We will wait for one more month, and if we don’t find their work satisfactory, we will be left with no other option but to fire them.”

    As per the revised deadline, the project was supposed to go into operation by January, but that did not happen due to deliberate delays by Jheijian Jialin. The completion deadline of the power plant has been extended six times since construction began in April 2008. It was originally scheduled to be finished by 2012.

    “Around 75 percent of the electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical works have been completed,” said Subash Kumar Mishra, the NEA appointed project chief of Kulekhani-III. “They have not stopped work, but they are not working at a satisfactory pace either.”

    Although the power utility is planning to fire the Chinese contractor, it will be difficult to find another one to complete the remaining job. As it has already imported majority of the electro and hydro mechanical equipments that need to be installed, the NEA might find it difficult to find another contractor who will take ownership of the equipment imported by other.

    Meanwhile, Sino Hydro, the civil contractor for Kulekhani-III, has almost completed its job and is planning to hand over the project to the power utility by March 15. Kulekhani III is a hydropower project that 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, but the price tag has 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 would be Rs173.6 million per MW. However, as per the revised estimate, it is now expected to cost Rs310 million per MW.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post