Melamchi works likely to gain momentum

Kathmandu, April 10

The construction work of Melamchi Water Supply Project, which has been halted since almost five months, is expected to gain momentum as the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) is preparing to call for a tender notice inviting a new contractor to wrap up construction of the project.

The fate of the water project was unclear since December last year after the Italian company, Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) di Ravenna, which was building the project, abandoned the project owing to its worrisome financial state.

However, MWSDB has started the process to call for a new tender to ensure that the project is completed as soon as possible.

“We are currently preparing documentation works for necessary tender and they are almost ready. We will call for a tender following a nod from the government,” informed Rajendra Panta, spokesperson for MWSDB.

Earlier, the MWSDB had presented two options to the Ministry of Water Supply (MoWS) to move ahead with the project — calling separate tenders for remaining headwork and tunnel work or calling a ‘multi-package’ tender allowing one capable contractor to complete all the remaining works of the project.

However, the MoWS had asked MWSDB to study the construction cost of the remaining works of the project and timeline of the project construction and come up with a concrete plan to successfully complete the Melamchi Water Supply Project.

“We will soon submit a detailed project plan to MoWS,” added Panta.

As per MWSDB, a majority of construction works, excluding tunnel works and headwork, has been completed at the project site. MWSDB has estimated that construction of the remaining works will require a budget of almost Rs three billion.

MWSDB officials have said that the government should make a special decision in a bid to ease the procurement process for the project to ensure that it is completed at the earliest. “If we follow the traditional procedure, as per the Public Procurement Act, the project completion will be comparatively delayed,” mentioned Panta.

Meanwhile, Shankar Prasad Subedi, spokesperson for MoWS, said that the government will take necessary decision after receiving the detailed project plan submitted by MWSDB.

The government had formally cancelled the contract with CMC on February 5 after the Italian company failed to resume works.

Following CMC’s contract termination, different parliamentary committees, including the Public Accounts Committee, have directed the government to complete the project construction through Nepali contractors as soon as possible.