MWSP likely to miss tunnel breakthrough deadline

Kathmandu, November 3

Although the contractor for Melamchi Water Supply Project had given a written commitment to complete the Ambathan-Gyalthum stretch of the tunnel by November, it is unlikely to meet the deadline give the current pace of work.

According to Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, 500-metre section of the tunnel still remains to be excavated along the Ambathan-Gyalthum stretch, while daily excavation rate stands at a mere 10 metres per day.

At the current pace, it would take another 50 days to complete tunnel work, while only 27 days remains for the project to meet its November deadline. If the contractor is to accomplish the task within the deadline, it should excavate 18 metre tunnel per day.

Deputy Executive Director at MWSDB Ramakanta Duwadi said the contractor was unlikely to complete the task within the deadline. The contractor had halted tunnel work for 18 days during Dashain, Tihar and Chhath festivals.

Duwadi, however, said that despite the delays, they were doing their best to meet the deadline for starting water supply to Kathmandu Valley by March 26.

According to MWSDB, 800-metre tunnel still remains to be excavated along the Gyalthum-Sindhu stretch. The contractor had pledged to complete work on the stretch by December 2017.

A month ago, contractor CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna had promised to complete work on Ambathan-Gyalthum and Gyalthum-Sindhu both stretches by November and December respectively. The 27.5 km tunnel comprises three stretches — Sundarijal-Sindhu, Sindhu-Gyalthum and Gyalthum-Ambathan. Three stretches cover 9.5 km, 8 km and 9 km respectively. Of the three adit tunnels, the longest stretch Sundarijal-Sidhu, which covers 9.5 km, was completed on December 28 last year.

The contractor has said that it would take at least three months for it to start supplying water to Kathmandu Valley after tunnel breakthrough.

The Melamchi project’s first deadline expired in 2007 and second deadline in 2016. On April 3 this year, the deadline was extended to October 2017.

Started December in 2000, the Melamchi Water Supply Project is assisted by the Asian Development Bank and aims to reduce drinking water scarcity in the Valley. The project envisages supplying 510,000,000 litres (170,000,000 MLD in first phase and remaining 340,000,000 MLD in second phase) of water per day to Valley from the Melamchi, Yangri, and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.