Chameliya Hydro Project to be commissioned from August
Published: May 07, 2017 4:35 am On: Business
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
Kathmandu, May 6
After successful tests of dam radial gates and intake gates today, Chameliya Hydropower Project is set to commission power from August this year. It is one of the longest running projects of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). According to Energy Secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyay, after the completion of the dam testing, tunnel tests will also be started very soon and it will take another two months to start commissioning power. As the hydro mechanical works of the project have been started, it will take around two months to conclude both hydro mechanical and electromechanical works.
Minister for Energy Janardan Sharma had instructed the contractor of the Chameliya Hydropower Project — China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) — to complete the civil works within this fiscal year, that is, by mid-July, 2017. But the contractor had pledged to conclude all works by August.
The project, which started in January of 2007, was supposed to be completed in May 2011. However, it has already been six years since the initial deadline expired, which caused a loss of around Rs two billion in revenue every year to the NEA.
Located in Darchula of far-western region, the 30-megawatt Chameliya Hydropower Project took seven years longer than the initial deadline for completion. Construction works of Chameliya Hydroelectricity Project was halted since July 2014 due to the dispute in the variation order sought by CGGC to open the 843-metre tunnel that had caved in due to the mudslides. The works of the project finally resumed in September last year after the Ministry of Energy allowed the NEA to release the payment and the contractor reopened the constricted tunnel.
The works of reopening 843-metre section of the tunnel that had caved in started on September 28 last year and was completed in the beginning of March this year.
NEA has released partial payment to the contractor, while it fixed the project completion deadline of 2017-end and has said that no further extension would be granted. In this regard, the contractor has accelerated the works and the project is expected to commission power by August this year.
The variation order sought by the contractor is almost double the amount estimated for the construction of four-km tunnel worth Rs 920 million. The contractor had sought additional Rs 1.9 billion (cost variation) after a length of 843 metres of the tunnel had constricted.
NEA has been bearing a huge loss not only in terms of revenue but also due to increase in foreign exchange rate owing to the project construction delays. Nepali currency has depreciated heavily vis-à-vis the US dollar from Rs 72 in 2007 to around Rs 103 at present. Roughly per megawatt cost of the Chameliya Hydroelectricity Project will be above Rs 500 million (including the cost of road connectivity to the project area, local electrification and transmission line), as per NEA officials.