SURKHET, April 12: The lockdown imposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 has affected development projects in the country but national pride project, Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project has been able to carry out construction works even during the lockdown period.
According to Krishna Upadhyaya, information officer and divisional engineer of the project, finishing works of Crawford dam in Chiple and tunnel works of Babai is being carried out at the moment. “According to the directives of the federal government, we have adopted all the criteria to continue the construction works of the project,” said Upadhyaya, “In this difficult situation, we have not stopped the work as it is a national pride project.”
As per Upadhyaya, the project is focusing on the works which has to be completed before the monsoon. “If we don't put a wall in the river to divert the flow of water then the project will not progress according to the target,” said Upadhyaya, “Workers of outer districts are staying in closed camps for the construction works.” The government has directed the project to keep the workers in closed camps with daily health checkup, maintaining distance of one meter and management of ambulance in order to continue works of projects in the country.
Under the second package, Raman-Wangden JV has been contracted to construct the dam and the power house. The contractor company is in final stages of constructing camps for workers in the dam site. There are 126 workers in the dam site.
Likewise, the construction work of the tunnel is also in its final stage. Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli had announced the breakthrough in a program organized in Chiple. The responsibility of constructing the tunnel was assigned to China Overseas Engineering Group Company (COVEC). 21 Chinese workers have completed the finishing works of the tunnel.
Under this project, a dam will be constructed at Chiple of Surkhet to divert the water of Bheri River and generate electricity by building a powerhouse at Hattikhola. Nearly 51,000 hectares of land in Bardiya and Banke districts is estimated to get irrigation facility from this multipurpose project that will also generate 48 megawatt of electricity.
Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) was used for the first time in Nepal to construct 12.2 kilometers tunnel. The Department of Irrigation had contracted with Raman-Wangden JV for the Rs 6.16 billion project for the construction of the dam and the power house.
According to Sanjiv Baral, project head, along with the construction of the dam and the power house, hydro mechanical and electromechanical works are also being carried out. Chiple of Bheri River is 114 meters long and 14 meters long dam will be constructed. The project will be completed within 2023 with the cost estimated at Rs 33.1 billion. According to the project officials, the country will earn a profit of Rs 3.1 billion from agriculture and Rs 4 billion from electricity annually after the completion of the project.