Nepali and Chinese workers at tunnel construction site of Bheri-Babai Multipurpose Project. Photo: Nagendra Upadhyaya/Republica
SURKHET, Feb 7: Tunnel construction at Bheri-Babai Multipurpose Project, a national pride project, has come to the final phase. On Tuesday, the length of completed tunnel was 11,100 meters, out of the total 12,000 meters.
"With only 900 meters of tunneling work left, we hope to complete it by February 27," said Project Chief Sanjiv Baral.
Once the construction is over, it takes three more months to complete the final works of tunnel. "Soon after the finishing, work of powerhouse and dam construction will speed up," Baral added.
The project had earlier targeted to complete tunnel construction by March 2020. According to Baral, the target was achieved a year in advance because there was no obstruction in completing the works at Toli River, which was considered a risk zone.
The Chinese contractor of the project, China Overseas Engineering Group Ltd, had started tunnel construction work in November 2016.
The major objective of the multipurpose project is to generate 48 MW of electricity and provide irrigation to 51,000 hectare of land in Banke and Bardiya districts. Around 700 Nepalis and 80 Chinese workers are currently working with the project.
The project is expected to cost a total Rs 33.19 billion, according to the amended master plan for the project. The estimate includes construction of tunnel, dam, powerhouse, hydro-mechanical and electro mechanical works, among other works. Till date, approximately Rs 7 billion has been spent.
The master plan was amended by the Department of Irrigation, with a new target to complete the project by 2020.
"We are working with an aim of completing the project within the deadline set by the amended master plan."