NEA not happy with work performance of contractors

Upper Tamakoshi likely to miss deadline again

Published On: December 13, 2019 09:24 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Though the government has been putting pressure on the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to bring Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project (456 MW) online within the stipulated timeframe, the power utility does not seem happy with the performance of contractors.

The NEA has set a deadline of mid-June 2020 for the national pride project. However, the authority has doubts on the contractor’s ability to meet the deadline as some complicated tasks are yet to be performed.

Speaking at a function in Kathmandu on Thursday, NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising said the project was still facing number of hassles in hydro-mechanical works. “The project is still facing different technical glitches related to the construction work,” said Ghising. 

He, however, reiterated that the authority was determined to bring online the ambitious project from the beginning of the next fiscal year i.e. mid-July 2020. 

“The electromechanical work is almost completed and the installation of penstock pipes is ongoing,” he added.

The pride project had awarded civil, hydro mechanical, electro mechanical and transmission line works to four separate contractors. 

The NEA had asked the contractors time and again to speed up the work for completing the project on time. Ghising himself had visited the project site number of times and directed the contractors – Andritz Hydro of Austria and Texmaco of India – to carry out works in three shifts so that it is completed within the scheduled time.
Two weeks ago, Ghising, accompanied by energy secretary Dinesh Ghimire, had even visited Kolkata and reminded the Indian contractor, Texmaco, about the deadline. In a high-level meeting, the Indian company had assured the authority that it would expedite the remaining works in order to meet the deadline.

The government has included Upper Tamakoshi in the list of national pride projects. The much-awaited project is expected to be a game changer for the country as energy generated by it is expected to end the reliance on Indian imports to meet the domestic demand. 

According to NEA, the country purchased electricity worth Rs 22 billion from India in FY2018/19.

Delay in hydro-mechanical works of the project by the Indian contractor had compelled the NEA to postpone the deadline number of times previously. 

Upon completion, the Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project located in Dolakha will be Nepal’s largest hydropower project. Construction work on run-of-the-river scheme began in 2012. The project was initially estimated to cost Rs 35 billion. The project cost is now expected to cross Rs 70 billion, thanks to the delay.

Meanwhile, a total of 147.5 MW of hydropower was added to the national grid in the past eight months. According to the NEA, six private sector run projects contributed a cumulative of 73.5 MW to the grid, while 60-megawatt Upper Trishuli-3 and 14-megawatt Kulekhani III also came online during the period.

The government has announced to generate a total of 1,500 MW of electricity in the current fiscal year.

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