KATHMANDU: The Kathmanduites will have to wait again to drink water from Melamchi river as the much-awaited water supply project is going to take two more years to complete with added cost due to failure of the contractor to complete the construction of the tunnel — a major component of the project — that will divert raw water from the Melamchi River to Sundarijal outlet in Kathmandu.
However, the key financier of the project, Asian Development Bank, does not want to indulge in any ‘blame game for the failure’ of earlier contractor to complete its task to construct tunnel and move ahead with the Melamchi Water Supply Project that will pump 170 MLD water to the Valley.
“The ADB will neither blame anyone nor blacklist the contractor that has failed to complete its task, rather it will bring in more money, if necessary, to complete the project,” said Director General of ADB’s South Asia department Juan Miranda.
With ADB pumping more money, the government might also have to jack up its matching fund, adding financial burden. “However, it is not finalised, yet,” according to Finance Secretary Krishnahari Baskota.
MWSP witnessed a huge setback last week after the contractor China Railway 15 Bureau Group Corporation that was constructing the 22.5-km long tunnel — the most expensive part — left after completing only 6.5 km. The Chinese contractor claimed that it was withdrawing from the contract due to financial reasons and lack of support from the board. Originally projected to cost $464 million in 2000, ADB had to restructure the project due to withdrawal of other development partners in February 2008. After the restructuring, the project has been revised to cost $317.3 million and the ADB shouldered the largest financing share of $120 million.
“We will not let the Kathmanduites down,” Miranda said, adding that the project will be completed by early 2016. “ADB is committed to alleviating acute water supply shortages for the 2.6 million people in the Kathmandu Valley.”