The country is suffering a loss of around Rs 1.2 billion per month due to delay in the construction of the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, according to project officials. The national pride project was initially expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
The project is being constructed by the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited, a subsidiary of the state-owned Nepal Electricity Authority.
Briefing Prime Minister KP Oli on the project's work at the project site in Dolakha district on Wednesday, the company's CEO Bigyan Prasad Shrestha said that the delays have caused huge losses to the company.
"We have been paying Rs 15 million as interest on loans while the company is also losing possible income of Rs 25 million taking the total daily loss to Rs 40 million," Shrestha explained to the prime minister. This means the monthly loss is whopping Rs 1.2 billion, according to Shrestha. The progress of work at present is about 94 percent but project officials say that the current delay is due to electromechanical work.
Shrestha further said, "The Indian firm responsible for electromechanical work has caused delay citing delay in the supply of penstock pipes from India."
Kolkata-based Texmaco Limited is the contractor for electromechanical works and there were delays in supplying heavy penstock pipes, which convey water to the powerhouse.
Shrestha said they have been piling pressure on the contractor to complete the electromechanical work without further delay. Despite these delays, project officials have however pledged to bring the first power generation unit of the project into operation by mid-January of next year. "Despite these delays we will do our best to start power generation in the next nine months," added Shrestha.
However, there had been also some delays in expanding the Lamosanghu-Jiri road for the supply of heavy construction materials like penstock pipes to the project site. Also the 2015 earthquakes and the Indian blockade hampered the project work.
After visiting the project, PM Oli directed the project officials and contractors to expedite project works and complete the project in given timeframe. Oli along with Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun and Chinese Ambassador Yu Hong had observed dam sites, underground power house and the tunnel among others.