KOHALPUR, Jan 14: Tunneling works of the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project has begun.
China Overseas Engineering Group (COVEC), the contractor of the mega project, started the work on January 1. According to Li Chyang, Babai in-charge of COVEC, tunnel boring machine (TBM) will dig 12 kilometers of tunnel, while laborers will dig the remaining 150 meters. As the contractor is yet to bring tunnel boring machines, laborers are working in the 150-meter section.
“Ninety-six workers have been deployed to dig the 5.6-meter wide tunnel,” he added.
According to COVEC, the tunnel boring machine will arrive in Nepal in August. “We have planned to complete tunnel digging works in four years,” he added.
Indra Bam, a consultant engineer of the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project, said he has been monitoring the materials and technology used by the contractor. He added that all preliminary work for tunnel digging has already been completed.
Around 350 Nepali laborers are working in the project, according to Project Chief Shiva Kumar Basnet.
COVEC has set up a factory spread over 70 ropani in Bheriganga Municipality to produce pipes and other materials required for the multipurpose project.
Altogether 23 Chinese engineers as well as government officials and project consultants are working at the project site. COVEC has termed work performance over the past one and half years 'satisfactory'.
The multi-purpose project will generate electricity and irrigate farm lands in four districts of mid-western region. The infrastructure project will be completed in three phases. A 12-kilometer tunnel will be dug in the first phase, while a hydropower project with installed capacity of 48 MW will be built in the second phase. Irrigation works will be completed in the third phase.