SHALLETAR, DEC 08
Seeking an extension to the contract period, the contractor had stopped tunnel work since mid-July.
The controversial move to upgrade the capacity of the project to 90 MW had brought the project to public eye amid suspicion of corruption. However, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the developer of the project, scrapped the upgradation decision on June 14.
The project said a few Nepali and Chinese workers have resumed work at the dam site. “Chinese workers, who had returned to China after the work was suspended, are in the process of getting visa extension,” said Uttam Amatya, acting head of the project. “And, those workers having visa for extended period are continuing with the job.”
He said the contractor has also opened letter of credit to import construction materials to complete the job.
The construction company has dug 1,500 metre of the tunnel and three channel gates at the dam site.
According to Amatya, 35 percent of the project work has been completed. However, it will be herculean task for the contractor to complete the job within May 2014, the deadline set as per the agreement between the NEA and China Gezhouba Group Co .
The contractor has been pressing the NEA to extend the deadline until February 2016, claiming that it could not initiate construction in time due to NEA’s delay in handing over the project site.
The delay has also affected a downstream project — Trishuli 3B (37 MW) — work on which is yet to start.
The project came into controversy after attempts were made to upgrade its capacity as per the interest of the contractor.
It also brought former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and former energy secretary Hare Ram Koirala into controversy for their alleged role in upgradation decision that would push the project’s completion further away. The project is being constructed at a cost of Rs 10.6 billion.
Source : ekantipur