Gongar (Dolakha), 7 April 2021. Work on the final phase of the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project is in full swing. Minor civil and mechanical works of dams, tunnels, transmission lines, substations and other structures are being carried out.
The final phase of the penstock pipe connection between the upper vertical tunnel and the lower vertical tunnel is underway. Lot 2 hydromechanical contractor company has committed to complete the welding and painting work in the joint of the pipe within the next three week.
At present only some of the gates on the hydromechanical side and some concreting work related to penstock pipes are left. With the completion of the remaining Santina work, work is underway from the second week of April to conduct technical testing of sensitive structures such as penstocks, main tunnels, surge shafts, surge tunnels, penstock pipes and gates, manholes and valves.
Under the main construction, construction of dam / intake, main tunnel, power house, tailrace tunnel and other civil structures has been completed. Successful technical testing of hydromechanical equipments such as dams, intakes and civil structures including gates and stopplugs has been successfully completed in the reservoirs and sand dunes.
Hitendra Dev Shakya, Executive Director of Nepal Electricity Authority and Chairman of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited, inspected the construction site on Monday and Tuesday and discussed with the project officials, consultants and all the three contractors about the schedule for filling the tunnel.
The remaining works will be completed by April 26 and a small amount of water will be sent to the tunnel from April 25 to fill the main tunnel and penstock pipes.
Accordingly, after the successful completion of water testing in civil and hydromechanical structures, testing and commissioning of 6 and 6 turbines and generators connected to the underground power house will begin with the water collected in the main tunnel and penstock. In this context, the first unit will start generating electricity within the month of April, 2078 BS, said Shakya.
“We have brought the project, which has been facing various problems such as earthquakes, floods and landslides, to the point where it can start generating electricity through continuous efforts. The remaining work should be done in parallel to generate electricity ahead of schedule,” he said. “The entire construction should be completed within the current fiscal year and only 456 MW of electricity should be generated.” The project has six units of 76-76 MW. After generating electricity from the first unit, electricity will be generated from the remaining units.
The construction of the project was delayed due to the catastrophic earthquake of 2072 BS and subsequent aftershocks and floods, problems in transportation of fuel and construction materials due to Madhes movement, design change, poor performance of hydromechanical (Lot 2) contractor. The contract for Lot 2 was awarded to Indian company Texma’s Rail and Engineering. Due to the poor performance of the company, the production and connection of hydro-mechanical equipments including penstock pipes of the dam have been delayed and the overall construction work of the project has been delayed.
According to Bigyan Prasad Shrestha, Chief Executive Officer of the company, the construction of the project has been delayed due to the earthquake. “The country’s largest project, currently being built with indigenous investment, has been hit by a major natural disaster and the global pandemic covid-19, which has reached the stage of power generation. It is a matter of happiness for all,” he said.
After Texmaco, which got the contract for Lot 2, delayed the work, the responsibility of pipe connection in the lower vertical tunnel, which was considered very difficult, was given to the contractor of Electromechanical (Lot 3) without any financial burden on the project.
The project had upgraded the Charikot (Dolakha) -Singti 35 km road at a cost of around Rs 1 billion. The project has constructed 29 kilometers of road and 7 concrete bridges from Singti to the dam site Lamabgar.
Using this infrastructure, 21 hydropower projects with a total storage capacity of 700 MW have been started in various rivers in the Tamakoshi river basin except Upper Tamakoshi. After the construction of the road by the project, the people of the former 20 VDCs in the northern region of Dolakha have been able to move around easily.