SURKHET, April 16: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that creating employment was the first priority of the government. While making the breakthrough of Babai Diversion Multipurpose Tunnel Project here today, Prime Minister Oli said that the government was working to increase productivity through mega projects.
He also urged the state and local governments to bring new effective programme that helps enhance economic growth of the country. PM Oli also stressed on inter-state effective program to boost national economy. He expressed happiness over the completion of the tunnel construction one year ahead of the stipulated time frame. The project was constructed with Nepal’s investment using US technology by Chinese Construction Company. Prime Minister Oli also committed to providing shelter to the flood survivors of Surkhet district who were displaced in 2071 BS before rainy season. The Prime Minister stressed on developing the infrastructures and road in a speedy manner to achieve the goal of prosperity.
Similarly, Energy Minister Barshaman Pun said that the tunnel construction was a historical achievement in the irrigation field in the country. He added that the tunnel was a goodwill project of both State-5 and Karnali state.
Speaking in the same program, Karnali State chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi argued that the state would be directly benefited from the project. He also committed to resolving the problems that surface in the locality. Chief Minister of State No 5 Shankar Pokharel said that the tunnel boring machine had added a new enthusiasm to the making of a ‘New Nepal’. He spoke of the need to develop this project as a friendship project between the two States.
Present in the event were the American ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry and Chinese ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanq, ministers of the Karnali Provinces, Speaker of the Province house, federal parliamentarians, province assembly members and local people’s representatives. Prime Minister Oli, on the occasion, presented letters of appreciation to the representatives of the China Engineering Overseas Pvt Ltd, Consultant Company Geodata Engineering S.p.A, Italy and CIDEK Nepal.
The digging of the tunnel had started since mid-November 2017 with the TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine), first any such machine used in Nepal. The tunnel digging work has been completed a year before its deadline due to the successful testing of the TBM which is used for the first time in the country. Technicians and workers from China and Nepal worked round-the-clock in two shifts to complete the project.
The project is expected to generate 48.8 megawatt of electricity and provide irrigation facility to 51,000 hectares of land in Banke and Bardia by channeling water from the Bheri River to Babai for which the construction of barrage has just started. The Department of Irrigation has estimated that due to the availability of the irrigation facility the agriculture production would go up yielding Rs 3.10 billion in profit.
Furthermore, the electricity produced from this Project would fetch over Rs 4 billion in income. Project Director Sanjeev Baral shared that 6-gauge barrage measuring 114 meters in length and 14 meters in height would be constructed at Chiple for power generation. Water from Bheri River will be diverted to Babai at the speed of 40 cubic meters per second (cusec). Over Rs 8 billion has already been spent in the Project that was estimated to cost Rs 10 billion initially. The Department of Irrigation’s new amended master plan projects the estimated cost for the construction of the tunnel, dam, powerhouse, hydro-mechanical and electromechanical among other works would take over Rs 33 billion. All works relating to this multipurpose project is expected to be over by fiscal year 2079/80 BS. RSS