Tunnel at Kulekhani project completed


    HETAUDA, JUL 31 –

    Kulekhani III HEP Adit TunnelThe Kulekhani III hydropower project has marked a major breakthrough with the completion of a tunnel to bring water to the powerhouse. The final section of the tunnel from Bhainse-Sannanitar was completed on Monday.

    Sino Hydropower Company has been constructing the 14 MW Kulekhani III project. The digging ceremony for the last part of the tunnel was attended by representatives from the local administration, political parties, journalists and local people.

    Construction of 2,220 m out of the tunnel’s total length of  4,221 m was completed on Sunday evening. Project chief Madhu Sudan Pratap Malla said the breakthrough in the work has been achieved after digging the main tunnel.

    Work on the Bhainse-Sannanitar segment started in July 2008. It took five years to complete the construction of the tunnel.

    Similarly, construction of four audit tunnels having a length of 1,900 m has also been completed. According to the company, around 66.14 percent of the project has been completed. The project has completed the electromechanical design and the construction of gates of the power plant. It has also completed the installation of the draft tube diffuser and drain pipe in the production plant.

    “If work continues at the same pace, the entire construction will be over by September 2014,” said Malla.

    In the last five years, only 40 percent of the project could be completed due to the tardiness of the contractor and the Nepal Electrical Authority besides repeated protests by the local people.

    Malla said work had been progressing at a faster pace in the last six months. “All the stakeholders including the workers, local people and project officials are now contributing their best for an early completion of the project,” he added. The project site has also been declared a protest-free zone for the last five months.

    Project cost to go up due to delays

    HETAUDA: Due to the delay in construction, the cost of 16-MW Kulekhani -III hydropower project is expected to increase by around Rs 2 billion. The project has projected that the cost would go up by up to 90 percent of original estimated cost of Rs 2.43 billon. Project Chief Madhu Sudan Pratap Malla said delay in work by various stakeholders, including contractors and appreciation of the US dollar, among others, contributed to the rise in cost. Sino Hydro, the contractor, has asked the NEA to provide an additional Rs 1.76 billion. The NEA board is yet to decide on the matter. The project whose construction started in April, 2008 was supposed to start producing electricity by December, 2011. But the deadline has now been extended until September 13, 2014. As of Monday, 66.14 percent of the construction work has been completed.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post