A year after PM’s direction, Upper Tamakoshi project still uncertain
March 24, 2019 08:02 AM NPT
This file photo taken last year shows Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli (third from left) and Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun (second from left) at the construction site of Upper Tamakoashi Hydropower Project in Lamabagar of Dolakha.
KATHMANDU, March 24: On April 11 last year, Prime Minister KP Oli had toured the project site of Upper Tamakoshi in Dolakha and ordered the project administration to complete the project on time.
The PM had asked all to work diligently, adding that his government would not give any space to those working irresponsibly or carelessly.
The PM’s direction had come while the Indian contractor for electro-mechanical works was not working properly.Minister for Energy, Water Supplies and Irrigation Barshaman Pun had also accompanied the PM during the site visit of the 456 MW project that would be the largest hydropower project of the country upon completion.
About a year later on Saturday, Minister Pun repeated his tour to the project site and reiterated the PM’s statement. He told the project officials to “complete the works on time,” but did not give a strong deadline for completion of the project.
Pun simply said: “I believe the project shall complete by mid-December this year.”
Both statements on a national pride project, which would hugely spike energy generation in a country that saw severe power crisis for a decade until 2016, lacked the commitment and strength it deserved.
This also indicates uncertainty about whether the developer company would complete the project by the given time, despite PM Oli’s strong directive during last year’s project tour.
The developer company is bearing losses of Rs 40 million per day including revenue losses due to delays in the project completion.
Marking the anniversary of his assuming office earlier this week, Minister Pun had issued a 51-page progress report without specifying a completion date for the project. The report only mentioned that the project shall be completed by the end of next fiscal year. It means the deadline could be extended till mid-July 2020.
In January, the project administration of Upper Tamaksohi Hydropower Limited had said that the project will be completed by mid-January 2020.
Minister Pun, however, claimed that he has managed to settle a difficult task of installing vertical
penstock pipes that run water to generators, by getting the Indian contractor share works with an Austrian contractor.
The project’s cost which is estimated to be doubled to Rs 70 billion may see further overrun if there is no fixed deadline for completion.