- Post Report, Kathmandu
Jan 24, 2017- China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC), the civil contractor for the Chameliya Hydroelectric Project, has completed treatment of around 80 percent of its squeezed tunnel section. According to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the owner of the 30 MW project located in Darchula district in the far west, 182 metres out of the 232 metres of the squeezed section have been treated. The Chinese civil contractor of the project, which had resumed civil work in October 2016 after more than two years of hiatus, is carrying out works at a rapid pace and has vowed to complete the task well before the deadline, according to the state-owned power utility.
As per the revised work schedule prepared by the civil contractor and approved by NEA at the end of September, the treatment of the squeezed section of the tunnel needs to be completed within 160 days from the beginning of October. “However, the civil contractor has promised to complete the treatment by the end of February-10 to 15 days ahead of the deadline,” said Ajay Kumar Dahal, project chief of Chameliya. Also, CGGC has to complete remaining civil works by September 2017. “However, going by the current pace of work, it is highly likely that they will complete the job before the scheduled time,” Dahal said.
After treating the squeezed tunnel, the civil contractor has to block three audit tunnels and complete concreting works in them. Meanwhile, the contractor assigned to do electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical works has said it would take additional 70 days to complete its job after the civil works are completed. Currently, they are conducting dry-test of the turbines and other electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipment, according to NEA.
The construction of the project had been stalled since May 2014 after the government refused to make an additional payment of Rs1.09 billion which the contractor had asked for due to cost variance resulting from the squeezing of the tunnel. The contractor agreed to resume work after being summoned to the Energy Ministry and told to do so immediately by Minister Janardan Sharma. NEA has released a provisional payment of the disputed bill before the issue was resolved in order to maintain a regular cash flow for the project. Once the dispute is settled, the contractor has to return the excess if it has been paid too much and it will receive additional payment in case of a deficit.