Kathmandu, January 14
As the contractors have been delaying in installing penstock pipes in the vertical tunnel of the project, the 456-megawatt Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project is likely to miss its completion deadline.
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has set a project completion deadline of mid-July this year.
However, the unsatisfactory performance of the contractors has raised concerns about whether this deadline can be met.
“The government has been putting pressure on us and we are also pushing the contractors to complete the project on time,” said Ganesh Neupane, spokesperson for the project.
Neupane informed, however, that the project is still facing hassles related to hydro-mechanical works, especially in installing penstock pipes in the vertical tunnel of the project.
The project had assigned Texmaco Railway Engineering of India to complete the hydro-mechanical works.
However, considering the slow pace of work, Austrian firm Andritz Hydro was brought in, in January of last year to take on part of installing the penstock pipes.
As of now, Texmaco, which is responsible to instal penstock pipes along 373 metres of the vertical tunnel has installed a total of 90
metres of the pipes. Similarly, Andritz Hydro, which is responsible to instal the pipes along 310 metres of the tunnel, has completed installing 190 metres of the pipes so far.
This means a total of 280 metres of penstock pipes have been installed in the tunnel so far, while the contractors are yet to instal pipes along 403 metres of the vertical tunnel.
As per Neupane, the civil, electromechanical, transmission line works have been almost completed.
“Both the companies have been working round-the-clock — with work being done in three shifts in a day — so that they are able to complete the project on time,” he said.
He further said that the contractors have expressed commitment to mobilise additional workers as needed in the coming days and that they will carry out the task of joining the penstock pipes simultaneously.
Last month, Kul Man Ghising, managing director of NEA, and Dinesh Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, had visited Kolkata, where the headquarter of Texmaco is located, and reminded the Indian contractor about the deadline. During the high-level meeting, the contractor had assured the government it would expedite the remaining works in order to meet the deadline.
In accordance with the revised deadline, which was extended for the fourth time in November, the project is scheduled to produce 76 megawatts of power from the first unit of its six units by mid-July.
A version of this article appears in print on January 15, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.