The Upper Madi Hydroelectric Project has planned to come online by December as most of the construction work has been completed.

    Around 98 percent of the construction work of the 25 MW power plant located in Kaski district has been finished, according to the project. The construction of the dam has been completed, and the electromechanical equipment has been installed.

    The project is currently engaged in diverting the river water towards the powerhouse. For this purpose, a 4,200-metre-long tunnel has been constructed and workers are presently concrete lining it.

    Two turbines of 12.5 MW capacity each and other related equipment have already been installed in the powerhouse.

    “Cable insulation as well as control panel installation has also been completed,” said Raj Kumar Baral, project coordinator. “Altogether, around 98 percent of the total work has been completed. Once the remaining work is done, we will conduct a test generation and then start commercial generation.”

    The construction of a canal to divert water from the dam to the tunnel is being done on a war footing. The project aims to complete the remaining 20 metres of the canal very soon.

    Earlier, 600 labourers used to work in the project. With most of the job finished, the workforce has been reduced to 250.

    In order to transmit the electricity generated to the substation located 10 km away at Lekhnath, 32 transmission towers have been erected, and cables have been installed on 27 of the towers.

    The project faced some difficulties due to a number of landslides. The 2015 earthquake, Indian blockade and floods in the Madi River also delayed the construction of the project. The cost of the project has increased to Rs6.6 billion from the initial estimate of Rs5.80 billion.

    Project Director Bijay Babu Malla said the cost could go up further. “The blockade halted the construction work for five months,” said Malla.

    “We were supposed to complete the development by April, but it was not possible.”

    China International Water & Electric Co (CWE) has bankrolled the project under the build-operate-transfer model (BOT). The company has an 80 percent stake in the project while Malla holds the remaining 20 percent of the shares.

    CWE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG), is also developing the 750 MW West Seti Hydropower Project. Chinese contractor Sino Hydro started the construction work in December 2012.

    Source : The Kathmandu Post