Generation date deferred by a year to April 2018
DOLAKHA, Aug 10: Monsoon rains have affected different works of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project which was already battered by last year's earthquake and Indian blockade.
According to project officials, landslides and floods triggered by monsoon rains have halted the process to lay transmission lines and other civil works.
Scheduled work has been affected after a hill near the powerhouse of the national pride project caved in because of incessant rain. The project has started to clear debris for resuming work at the earliest.
Though all the four contractors of the mega project had returned to the project site in June, after a gap of over a year, they have remained idle as there is no road access to reach the dam site. Also they do not have equipment at the site.
“Landslides have blocked the access road to the project site. Floods in the Singati River have further worsened the situation,” Ganesh Neupane, spokesperson of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Ltd, said.
Because of the disturbances, the project has deferred its plan to start generation by mid-April 2017.
“Contractors cannot reach the project site,” Neupane said, adding: “Our immediate focus is on reopen the road."
Neupane further added that they have already dug 44-meter tunnel for the access road. “We plan to dig 360-meter tunnel within the next three months,” he added.
The project chose to dig tunnel after concluding that it was not possible to build a road on the Kabhre Hill because of fragile geology.
According to project officials, around 85 percent of tunnel works have been completed so far. The project has been trying to resume works after bringing access road to operation as soon as possible.
“The main tunnel work has been halted for more than 15 months as contractors have not been able to reach the dam and powerhouse sites because of the earthquake and the blockade,” added Neupane.
Work on the remaining 1,450-meter stretch of the tunnel will resume once the access road is ready.
At present, Sinohydro Corporation of China, the civil contractor of the project, has been doing concrete works in the powerhouse.
"Civil works and electro-mechanical works have to be done simultaneously. But electro-mechanical work has been halted as there is no road access to the project site now,” added Neupane.
Floods have also damaged a diversion at Khandichaur, which was built to transport large equipment of the project. As a result, vehicles carrying project equipment are lying stranded along the Araniko Highway.
The diversion was built as the existing bridge over the Sunkoshi River does not support transport of heavy equipment like penstock pipes, turbines and generators.
Similarly, the contractor building transmission line from the powerhouse to Kirne has also been forced to stop its work after a bridge over Dholi Khola was swept away.
Project officials have said that the project will be able to start generation after April, 2018 only.