Upper Tamakoshi launch date pushed back to December

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    Project officials blamed the poor state of the road linking the project site in Dolakha for the sluggish progress

    Feb 26, 2018-The Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project has rescheduled its launch date to December as it is set to miss the deadline to have at least one of its six turbines in operation by July.

    During a visit to the power plant in December 2016, the then energy minister Janardan Sharma had issued instructions to have one turbine running by July 2018, and all six by the end of the year.

    The 456 MW hydropower project is located in Dolakha district, and is being developed by state-owned power utility Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).

    Sharma had organised a tripartite meeting with the contractor, consultant and NEA and told them to start producing power from one unit by July and complete the entire project by December.

    Around 94 percent of the construction has been completed till date and work is progressing slowly. Project officials blamed the poor state of the road linking the project site in Dolakha for the sluggish progress.

    “The condition of the 60-km road from Khadichaur to Charikot, Dolakha is very poor, and we are having difficulties transporting heavy electromechanical equipment that need to be installed at the hydropower plant,” said Bigyan Raj Shrestha, NEA appointed project chief of Upper Tamakoshi.

    “Therefore, we have revised our deadline, and as per the new timetable, our first unit will start generating electricity by December 2018, and the entire project will be completed by April 2019.”

    As per the revised schedule, the project will fill the tunnel with water in November and run its first unit a month later. At present, the contractor is lining the tunnel with concrete and installing hydro and electromechanical equipment at the project site.

    The project has also completed around 70 percent of the construction work on the 220 kV Gongor-Khimti Transmission Line Project which will be used to evacuate the electricity generated by Upper Tamakoshi.

    After the Upper Tamakoshi roars into life, the NEA will be in a position to export electricity to neighbouring India.

    During the wet season, surplus energy can be transmitted over the Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line to the Dhalkebar substation and on to the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line for export to India.

    The national pride project was originally scheduled to be completed in mid-July 2016, but the earthquake, Indian trade blockade and various technical and social issues pushed back the completion date. Before the earthquake hit the country, the project had completed 79 percent of the civil works.

    It also faced cost overruns due to the delays. The project is now expected to cost Rs42 billion, up from the previous estimate of Rs35.3 billion. Nevertheless, the project is considered to be a role model project which is being developed with domestic resources and a high level of participation by project-affected locals and the general public.

    Source: The Kathmandu Post