Kathmandu, May 23
The construction equipment to build the much-talked about Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel has started arriving at the Birgunj customs office.
According to the Nagdhunga-Naubise tunnel project, most of the equipment have arrived at the Kolkata port in India and some have already been transported to Birgunj.
The construction company, Hazama Ando Corporation of Japan, has requested the project to facilitate the transportation of the equipment to the construction site from the customs point.
On Friday, a team from Hazma Ando which included its project manager and Director General of the Department of Roads Keshav Kumar Sharma held a discussion regarding the transportation of the equipment. The team handed over an official letter to Sharma seeking vehicle passes to ferry the equipment from the customs office to the construction site.
Discussions related to the construction work were also held during the meeting.
Sharma mentioned that the department would facilitate the construction work and the workers and technicians involved in the project would be tested for the coronavirus before work starts.
According to the project, equipment and materials worth about Rs 4.5 billion are being brought for the construction of the tunnel project.
These include jumbo drills, large excavators, concrete pressing machines, wheel loaders, tunnel lining machines, among others. These goods are the first ‘master list’ items needed to start construction of the tunnel.
The second ‘master list’ is being prepared, which includes equipment related to lighting and ventilation that are used inside the tunnel. The list also includes equipment needed for emergency system.
Arjun Jung Thapa, chief of the Development Assistance Implementation Division of the Department of Roads, informed that the division will facilitate in the transportation of the equipment.
According to him, the equipment will reach the construction site in the next few weeks. “All the equipment required for the construction of the tunnel have started arriving at the customs office.
There is no problem in starting construction activities now,” he added.
However, it is still uncertain when the work will start as the government has imposed a nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus. Earlier, the project had written a letter to the construction firm asking if work could be started.
The construction company had replied that there would be no problem in starting the work if the vehicle pass could be arranged to bring the workers.
The company had also proposed a plan to work during the lockdown.
The project had written a letter stating that work could start on a small scale initially but the company has offered to start work in a full-fledged manner. The company has stated that more than 200 workers must be brought from Jhapa and other places outside the Kathmandu valley to start construction work.
“Work can be started by meeting the health criteria.
They can take vehicles from here and bring workers after the rapid diagnostic test for the coronavirus is done,”
Sharma said, adding that however, it is not yet clear when work will start due to the COVID-19.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 24, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.
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