Construction of ‘head box’ impossible in stipulated time


The construction of the ‘head box’ for the Melamchi Drinking Water Project is impossible in the stipulated time due to the obstructions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the lockdown, supply of both construction materials and workforce was badly disrupted, thereby delaying the process.

A Chinese construction company was last year assigned to complete the remaining tasks of the tunnel including the ‘head box’.

Information Officer at Melamchi Drinking Water Project Rajendra Prasad Pant informed that construction of the tunnel and head box was scheduled to have been completed before January next year but it is now impossible.

Citing the obstructions created by the coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, the project term will be now extended for six more months. “We hope the project activities will be completed by April,” Pant added.

In July, water was supplied from the temporary reservoir to test the tunnel but once construction has been completed, water will be supplied to the tunnel through the head box.

Meanwhile, the project has continued construction activities despite calls from the local people to halt activities amid the COVID-19 risk.

It has been two decades since institutional initiatives were taken to bring drinking water from the Melamchi River to the Kathmandu valley. However, the project is yet to be completed. An agreement to implement the project was signed with the Asian Development Bank in 2011.

After an Italian company left the project midway citing its bankruptcy, a Chinese company was awarded the contract to complete the remaining works.

The Ministry of Water Supply has time and again set the date for its completion but the project has yet to be completed.