Quake hits 456MW Tamakoshi dam

A file photo of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydel Project dam site. Photo courtesy: UTKHPL
  • Officials claim damage repairable

A file photo of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydel Project dam site. Photo courtesy: UTKHPL
A file photo of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydel Project dam site. Photo courtesy: UTKHPL

DOLAKHA, MAY 11 – The dam in the largest under-construction Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project has subsided 17 centimetres due to the April 25 earthquake. The project office, however, claimed that it can be repaired.

The 456 megawatt national priority project is located in Dolakha, one of the districts which bore the brunt of the massive quake.

The project is slated to be completed by 2016 and the setback may push its completion date further. Earlier, construction works were disrupted for 17 days due to a strike by workers.

Project chief Bigyan Prasad Shrestha said that an initial inspection of the project site following the earthquake showed that the dam had sustained “settlement” but that there was no other damage. “This is repairable and it is not a new phenomenon for projects under construction,” added Shrestha.

Meanwhile, work at the project is unlikely to resume anytime soon. According to project officials, the work has been halted for two weeks as most of the workers have left due to fears of landslides and frequent aftershocks. Hundreds of Indian and Chinese nationals employed in the project have left for their homes.

“Most of the houses in Dolakha have collapsed and access roads have been blocked. So we are not in a position to resume work immediately,” said Shrestha. The quake also damaged an 11-km section of the Gogar-Lamabagar road.

According to Shrestha, work will resume once the roads are repaired. The project office has written to the workers to return to work. As per their contract, they are not allowed to quit before the project is completed. Ganesh Nyaupane, spokesperson for the project, said that the workers had been leaving due to recurring landslides. He added that they had urged the contractor Sino Hydro to resume construction by hiring a new workforce. However, it has been reported that the project will be disrupted for another two weeks due to landslides.

Source : eKantipur