KATHMANDU, April 5: Despite the government’s commitment to resume water supply to the Kathmandu Valley from the Melamchi River by mid-April, it seems unlikely because of the slow pace of maintenance work at the project site.
Last week, Minister for Water Supply, Umakanta Chaudhary said that the government will distribute water from the Melamchi River in Sindhupalchowk to the Kathmandu Valley within the aforementioned deadline. However, the project has been busy just to clear the debris at the head works till date.
Bashu Dev Paudyal, chief of Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP), said they have not completed clearing the debris and slur deposited by last year’s floods at the main entrance of the tunnel.
“Due to the narrow space at the project site, we are unable to deploy a large amount of manpower at once while the tunnel maintenance can be started only after clearing the debris at the head works site,” Paudyal said. According to him, the debris including big boulders has been piled up to a height of 20 feet at the tunnel entrance.
The massive flood in Helambu Rural Municipality and riverbank areas of Melamchi River last year caused huge damage to the project’s vital infrastructures in Ambathang, the main gateway of the MWSP. The devastating flood damaged the head works of the project, obstructing the water supply to the valley.
Following the incident, the government awarded the maintenance work to China's state-owned Sinohydro Company at an investment of Rs 310 million.