Kathmandu, December 8
Melamchi Water Supply Project excavated 16 metres tunnel on the Election Day.
According to Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, it was expected to halt work yesterday. However, since only a few workers left for their home districts to cast their votes, the project continued work as usual.
MWSDB officials said they were trying to complete tunnel work at the earliest.
Deputy Director at MWSDB Ramakanta Duwadi said continuation of tunnel excavation even on the Election Day gave a message of their commitment to completing the task at earliest.
“We won’t halt work on any pretext until we complete tunnel excavation,” Duwadi told The Himalayan Times, adding, “Though weak rocks have been posing difficulty, we will continue to excavate at least 16 metre tunnel daily to meet the deadline.”
Only 796 metres tunnel — 210 metres along the Ambathan-Gyalthum stretch and 586 metre along the Gyalthum-Sindhu stretche — remains to be excavated, .
In September, the contractor had promised to begin water supply from March 26. The contractor had also promised to complete tunnel work by December this month. However, the MSDB has said it was unlikely to achieve tunnel breakthrough in December due to delay in tunnel excavation.
MWSDB said a month’s delay in tunnel excavation would not affect the project’s aim of starting water supply to Kathmandu Valley by March. The 27.5 km tunnel comprises three stretches — Sundarijal-Sindhu, Sindhu-Gyalthum and Gyalthum-Ambathan that 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.
Meanwhile, MWSDB said four transit mixers out of eight would arrive in Kathmandu by Sunday. Kathmandu Valley will be supplied 170,000,000 litres of water per day from the Melamchi River from March 26, 2018, in the first phase. In the second phase, the project envisages supplying 340,000,000 litres of additional water per day to the Valley by bringing water from Yangri and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.
The Melamchi project’s first deadline expired in 2007 and second deadline in 2016. On April 3, the deadline was extended to October 2017. For that tunnel construction deadline was fixed for July 2017, but the project missed this deadline too.
Started on 21 December 2000, the Melamchi Water Supply Project is assisted by the Asian Development Bank and aims to reduce drinking water scarcity in the Valley.
A version of this article appears in print on December 09, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.