PARBAT, Sept 17: It seems the under-construction Middle Modi hydropower project, which was supposed to be completed by December 2017, will be further delayed by a year and half.
Reasons like presence of white clay and rocks on the tunnel-way, workers’ protest, and withdrawal by an investment partner have delayed the 15.1 megawatts hydropower project.
The project, a Chaudhary Group venture, is being constructed with an investment of Rs 2.80 billion. Industrialist Binod Chaudhary had laid down the foundation stone of the project on November 23, 2014.
Out of the total 2,693-meter-long tunnel-way, only 1,546 meters have been completed. That means only 55 percent work has been completed till now. According to the information given by the project office, 1,125 meters of the tunnel have been dug toward the water source and 421 meters toward powerhouse. Rest of the work will be completed by 2018 April, according to LB Thapa, deputy project manager of the construction company Himal Hydro.
“We still need to dig 1,100 meters of tunnel,” he said: “Our target is to complete it by 2018 April.”
He said that the tunnel construction was hit by the presence of white clay in the soil. “Few places have rocks but the white clay in most of the places is creating trouble for construction,” he added.
Along with the tunnel, the company has also begun the works of river embankment, powerhouse and headwork. The project office has said that its works were affected by the earthquake and blockade in the past two years. According to project chief Hari Devkota, 70 percent work was supposed to be completed till now but several reasons have been pushing back the deadline. According to him, both the costs and the timeframe would increase if the present situation continued.
Even after the foundation stone was laid, construction could not be started immediately. Indian company Coaster, which had committed to partner with Chaudhary Group initially, showed reluctance in the project later on, which caused the project to be delayed by four months. Authorized contractor of the project, Himal Hydro, has recently sub-contracted Phewa Construction and assigned it some part of the project work.
Besides other disturbances, the project has been further delayed due to repeated protests by the workers on issues related to wage and provision of other facilities.