Dec 18, 2016- Energy Minister Janardan Sharma has directed the chief of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project to prepare the projects’ work schedule within three days after the promoter, contactor and consultant came up with contradictory project completion dates.

    In his meeting with project officials and consultant during his inspection visit of the project site on Saturday, the minister asked Bigyan Raj Shrestha, the project chief, to act immediately to clear the confusion over the completion date of the 456MW project.

    Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), one of the key promoters of the project, has set July 2018 deadline for the completion of the much-touted hydropower project, whose 82 percent construction has so far been completed.

    During Saturday’s meeting, Shrestha said project was on track to meet the NEA-set deadline, but a representative of the consultant told the minister it would take three more years to complete the project.

    “What’s happening here?” Sharma, shocked after the civil contractor mentioned March 2019 as the completion date, questioned. “I want you to sit and discuss and come up with a uniform report. I want this confusion to end within three days,” he told the project officials.

    The project based in Dolakha district reached a milestone a couple of weeks ago with the completion of a 340-metre tunnel road providing access to the main construction site. The tunnel at Kavrebhir was finished after five months of efforts.

    Work on the project had been affected after an access road leading to the construction site was destroyed by last year’s earthquakes. The developer had initially tried to reconstruct the road, but later it decided to dig a tunnel instead due to the fragile geology of the area.

    The national pride project was originally scheduled to be completed by mid-July 2016, but the earthquakes, India’s trade blockade and various technical and social issues pushed back the completion date.

    After multiple amendments, the total project cost has now been estimated at Rs35.29 billion. Around Rs30 billion has been spent so far.

    However, cost overruns are expected as per the project’s progress report issued in mid-June 2016. The report has cited the earthquakes and blockade for the time and cost overruns.

    According to NEA, frequent floods during the monsoon also held up work.

    The project has divided the development works into four categories—civil, hydro mechanical, mechanical electrical, transmission line and supervision.

    The construction of four out of the planned six units at the powerhouse is underway. Likewise, a 47-km-long 220 kVA transmission line is being built which is expected to be completed soon.

    Source : The Kathmandu post