SURKHET: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that creating employment was the first priority of the government. While making the breakthrough of Babai Diversion Multipurpose Tunnel Project here today, Prime Minister Oli said that the government was working to increase productivity through mega projects.
He also urged the state and local governments to bring new effective programmes that would help enhance economic growth of the country. PM Oli also stressed on an effective inter-state programme to boost the national economy.
He expressed happiness over the completion of the tunnel construction one year ahead of the stipulated time. The project was constructed with Nepal’s investment using US technology by Chinese Construction Company.
Prime Minister Oli also committed to providing shelter to the flood survivors of Surkhet district who were displaced in 2071 BS before the rainy season. He stressed on developing the infrastructures and road in a speedy manner to achieve the goal of prosperity.
Similarly, Energy Minister Barshaman Pun said that the tunnel construction was a historical achievement in the irrigation field in the country. He added that the tunnel was a goodwill project of State-5 and Karnali State. Speaking in the same programme, Chief Minister of Karnali Province Mahendra Bahadur Shahi argued that the state would directly benefit from the project. He also committed to resolving the problems faced by the locals.
Chief Minister of Province 5 Shankar Pokharel said, the tunnel boring machine had added a new enthusiasm to shape ‘New Nepal’. He spoke of the need to develop this project as a friendship project between the two states.
Prime Minister Oli, on the occasion, presented letters of appreciation to the representatives of the China Engineering Overseas Pvt Ltd, Consultant Company Geodata Engineering SpA, Italy and CIDEK Nepal. The digging of the tunnel had started since mid-November 2017 with the TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine), first machine of its kind used in Nepal.
The tunnel digging work had been completed a year before its deadline due to successful testing of the TBM. Technicians and workers from China and Nepal worked round-the-clock in two shifts to complete the project.
The project is expected to generate 48.8 megawatts of electricity and provide irrigation facility to 51,000 hectares of land in Banke and Bardia by channeling water from Bheri River to Babai for which the construction of barrage has just started.
The Department of Irrigation has estimated that due to the availability of the irrigation facility the agriculture production would go up yielding Rs 3.10 billion in profit. Furthermore, the electricity produced from this project would fetch over Rs 4 billion in income.
Project Director Sanjeev Baral shared that six-gauge barrage measuring 114 metres in length and 14 metres in height would be constructed at Chiple for power generation. Water from Bheri River will be diverted to Babai at the speed of 40 cubic metres per second (Cusec).
Over Rs 8 billion has already been spent on the project that was estimated to cost Rs 10 billion initially. The Department of Irrigation’s new amended master plan shows the estimated cost for the construction of a tunnel, dam, powerhouse, hydro-mechanical and electromechanical among other works to be over Rs 33 billion.
All works related to this multipurpose project is expected to be complete by the fiscal year 2079/80 BS.
The American Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanq, ministers of Karnali Province, Speaker of the Province, federal parliamentarians, province assembly members and local people’s representatives were among the guests present on the occasion.