Melamchi tunnel breakthrough in December

Kathmandu, October 13

After missing the September-end deadline, the much-hyped Melamchi Drinking Water Project (MDWP) has set a new target to complete the tunnel digging process within December. The MDWP has finished digging 25.9 kilometres of the tunnel till date, out of the total length of 27.5 kilometres.

“Around 1.5 kilometres of the tunnel is yet to be dug and we plan to complete it within this December,” said Ramchandra Devkota, chief of the project.

The tunnel of the project is being dug up in two places of Sindhupalchowk district — Ambathan and Sindhu.

According to Devkota, Ambathan-Gyalthum section of the tunnel will be completed around November-end and the Sindhu-Gyalthum section will be completed around December-end. He informed that the tunnel digging process of Sundarijal-Sindhu section was completed nine months ago.

An Italian contractor — CMC di Ravenna — is constructing the project and the final deadline of the contract is April 15, 2018. “If there are no more hurdles, we will be able to bring water from the Melamchi River within the contract period,” Devkota assured.

Earlier, after the devastating earthquakes of April and May 2015, the project had targeted to complete the entire works within September this year. However, due to the disruptions in works several times, the completion date of the project had to be pushed back to December.

The government plans to supply 170 million litres of water daily to the Kathmandu Valley from Melamchi River in the first phase. After completing the first phase, the Yangri and the Larke Rivers will also be diverted to Melamchi River to bring additional 340 million litres of water a day to the Valley.

Meanwhile, the project has begun test operation of its Sundarijal-based water treatment plant and bulk distribution system from September 17.

The project aims to  complete the test operation of four bulk distribution plants — located

at Gongabu, Anamnagar, Gaushala and Sinamangal — in the near future.