QUAKE HITS FIVE UNDER-CONSTRUCTION NEA PROJECTS

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    Five big projects being constructed by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and subsidiary companies will be delayed due to the damages by the magnitude-7.9 earthquake on April 25 and subsequent aftershocks.

    There have not been significant losses in the projects but there have been big landslips in the access roads and work has yet to be resumed due to fear of life owing to repeated aftershocks. Project chiefs say it will take months for return to normalcy.

    Work of 60 MW Upper Trishuli 3A under the NEA, and 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi, 111 MW Rasuwagadi, 102 MW Mid Bhotekoshi, 15 MW Sanjen and 45 MW Lower Sanjen, being constructed under subsidiary companies, has been stopped after the earthquake. The government’s aim of ending load-shedding within three years will also be affected due to the one-year delay in these projects. Load-shedding can be ended within three years only if all of these projects are completed in scheduled time.

    The earthquake has affected dozens of projects but the main structure of Upper Tamakoshi has not been damaged. But work will not resume immediately as big landslides have occurred at different places in the access road from Charikot to the dam-site at Lamabagar, according to promoter of the project Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited (UTKHPL). Construction can also not be started due to the possible risks from aftershocks. The government aims to complete the project, listed among national-pride projects, by June, 2016.

    Director of the UTKHPL Bigyan Prasad Shrestha says the project seems to have been delayed by a year to June, 2017 due to the earthquake. Study of losses in the project and cost due to the delay owing to the earthquake have yet to be completed, according to him, and the UTKHPL is just providing security to the project and workers. “Work will resume when things improve and there is confidence. The earthquake has affected a season of work and the project has been delayed by a year due to that,” he reasoned. Cost of the project was estimated at Rs 35.29 billion while beginning construction but it has already increased due to recent obstructions in work and appreciation of the US dollar. 73 percent of construction has been completed till date.

    Similarly, Upper Trishuli 3A being constructed by the NEA will also be delayed by a year due to damages in dam and other infrastructure, and obstruction of the five-kilometer road from the power house to the dam by landslides. The project, scheduled to be completed in June, 2016, will now be pushed back to 2017 while its cost will also rise due to the delay. Project chief Uttam Amatya said there has been a huge loss and details have yet to arrive. Civil contractor China Gezhouba Group Limited has already submitted primary details of losses while consultant Northwest Hydro is also calculating the losses. He claimed that clearing landslides in the five-kilometer road will take over six months.

    The earthquake killed two Chinese workers constructing Rasuwagadi being developed by Chilime Hydropower Company Limited, subsidiary company of the NEA, while equipment has also been buried under landslips. Administrative chief of Chilime Ram Gopal Shiwakoti said the project will be delayed due to obstruction of the access road to the project from Dhunche even though there has not been much damage in the project.

    Work of Sanjen and Lower Sanjen has also been affected due to landslides. Shiwakoti said there is still uncertainty as to when work of these two projects will resume, and Chilime is trying hard to resume work as soon as possible by clearing the landslides. Mid Bhotekoshi, also being developed by Chilime, has also been affected by the earthquake. The project lies in Sindhupalchowk district, that has been hit hardest by the earthquake, and it is also set to be delayed as resumption of work is uncertain.

    Chilime Hydropower Project (22 MW), that was shut down due to the earthquake on April 25, has come back into operation now and is being operated at full capacity.

    Source : Karobar Daily