Missing its deadline twice due to several reasons, Upper Tamakosi Hydropower Company, along with Nepal Electricity Authority, is now in no mood to extend another deadline. The more the time the project will take, the cost will escalate further. With a strategically higher value in hydropower, the completion of the project will be a game changer in energy sector in Nepal.
This the reason all the concerned officials, including the minister of energy, water resources and irrigation, are making all-out efforts to complete the project in 2019 at any cost.
In the presence of Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority and chairman of Upper Tamakosi Hydropower Ltd Kul Man Ghising, contractors agreed to start the installation of Upper and Lower Vertical Shaft within this month.
With instructions from the Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun, who set a new time table to generate electricity by the end of December 31, MD Ghising paid an inspection visit at the sites of the project and held several rounds of meetings and evaluated the progress to fulfill the deadline.
During the inspection visit on April 21 and 22, the contractors said that they will start the installation of lower vertical shaft by May 5 and upper by second week of May.
Installation of pipes of Upper Vertical Shaft will start from the second week of May. Installation of the 372-meter long lower shaft is regarded as the most difficult and challenging task. In the lower vertical shaft, there is the need to install various pieces of penstock pipes with a length of five meter and 27 tons. However, bent penstock pipes of tail sections have already been installed.
The process of placing the crane to erect the pipes in the lower vertical shaft is at a final stage. After looking at the slow work by Indian contractor Texmaco Rail & Engineering Limited, which is responsible for supplying and fitting penstock pipes, Tamakosi Hydropower Ltd has handed over the work to ANDRITZ Hydro of Austria, a contractor of Lot 3, without additional burden to the project on January 7, 2019.
However, Texmaco Rail & Engineering has been doing all fitting works of upper vertical shaft on its own. Minister Pun visited the site on 23 March and directed concerned officials to regularly monitor the project works and sort out the problems in the field, if there is any.
The inspection visit and meting of MD Ghising was part of that direction. MD Ghising held a meeting with project management, representatives of contractor companies and consultants.
Minister Pun directed last month to complete the project in the new timetable and directed NEA MD to pay the site visit monthly to inspect the progress. During the meeting the senior officials of all concerned parties were present.
"Since this project is constructed with the investment of Nepali people, every Nepali is keenly watching the project and expressing the concern as to when it will complete," directed MD Ghising. "The construction of power house has already completed and the turbines are waiting for water to charge. As a national priority project, Upper Tamakosi will bring positive changes in the country's economy."
CEO of Texmaco Rail & Engineering Limited GC Agrawal said that all the contractors are working in the project with a better coordination and complete the work in time.
During the meeting, they reviewed the progress in the installation of upper shaft and lower shaft penstock, dam, intake and settling basin. They also held discussions to test the dam, intake and sand settling basin, by filling water by the first week of June. MD Ghising called for the need to start the trial by the first week of June. He directed the contractor to complete concrete lining in the main tunnel as soon as possible.
Due to the earthquake, aftershocks, floods and landslides, Madhesh Agitation, design change and slow work of Lot 2 contractors delayed the project. According to initial plans, the project should have completed by 2016/17. Later it was amended with 2017/2018.
According to the current revised deadline, the project should start the generation from first unit 76 MW by December 31, 2019. The construction work is moving ahead following the revised deadline.
The project initially estimated the cost was Rs. 35.29 billion, excluding interest, during the construction period. With interest and bank commission estimated of construction period at Rs. 13.22 billion, the total initial estimated cost was Rs. 48.86 billion.
According to the current revised estimation, the cost reached Rs. 49.29 excluding the interest of the construction period. With Rs. 19.84 billion interest during construction , the total cost of the project is now estimated to be Rs. 69.59 billion.
In the project, Employees Provident Fund invested Rs.10 billion, Nepal Telecom Rs.6 billion, Citizen Investment Fund and National Insurance Company Rs. 2 billion each and the government agreed to invest remaining Rs.11. 08 billion.
In the company, NEA has 41 and Nepal Telecom 6, Citizen Investment Trust and National Insurance Company 2 percent shares each. Similarly, 15 percent goes for public, 10 percent for Dolkha residents and employees of NEA. Other companies and depositors of Employment Provident Fund receive the rest of 24 percent.