The announcement was made by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The clearance of headwork has started in war footing.
The supply of water in Kathmandu Valley has been delayed for almost two months due to the apathy of the Ministry of Drinking Water and inadequate budget. People speculated that the delay was intentional. Some higher officials of the ministry own a mineral water factory and water supply tanker.
Due to the massive protests by consumers in the Kathmandu Valley, the government felt pressure. In his televised address to the nation on Tuesday, PM Prachanda stated that he is working on a comprehensive plan to supply 170 million liters of water daily to the Kathmandu Valley within the next 28 days.
He expressed empathy for the unfulfilled dream of Kathmandu Valley residents to access water from the Melamchi Water Supply Project. He reassured that the narrative suggesting that the project's water would not be supplied to Kathmandu would be proven wrong. He also mentioned that discussions on the second phase of the Melamchi Project were in progress, and a high priority would be given to the structural reform of the agencies related to water supply.
The work is progressing according to the PM’s address, said Padam Kunwar, Senior Divisional Engineer at Melamchi Water Supply Board. “We are currently at Ambathan, extracting water from a small tunnel to assess its condition,” he said. The tunnel was filled with water during the rainy season. Ambathan’s tunnel is one of the tunnels connecting to the main tunnel at the Melamchi headworks.
“There are three gates, and there is no issue with Gate No. 1. We are currently addressing the issues with Gate No. 2, and work on Gate No. 9 within the headworks will commence on Friday,” Kunwar explained.
Currently, six excavators, 10 tippers, eight to 10 engineers, and 10 labourers are mobilized in the field. When the work on Gate No. 9 begins, additional human resources and equipment will be deployed, Kunwar informed.
The work is going on under the specified insurance coverage and is expected to be completed ahead of the scheduled time frame, he mentioned.
Earlier, on December 19, the Ministry of Water Supply and the contracted company Sino Hydro signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the supply of Melamchi water to the Valley within next 28 days.
The meeting, chaired by Secretary at the Ministry Suresh Acharya, resolved to ensure the supply of Melamchi water to every household in Kathmandu within the specified timeframe, provided there was no emergency. The agreement was also made to mobilise resources immediately for the construction and clearance work.
The water will be processed by Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) at Sundarijal Water Treatment Plant and redistributed to households in the Kathmandu Valley.
The Melamchi water supply was halted due to monsoon rains from June 23, 2023.
With reports from The Rising Nepal