6 hydro projects affected by the quake

6 hydro projects affected by the quake

5 June 2015 | Karobar

DOLAKHA, JUN 4: Six hydropower projects in Dolakha district including Upper Tamakoshi face delay after the earthquake destroyed physical infrastructure including access roads. It is not clear when construction of Upper Tamakoshi (456 MW), Khanikhola-1 (40 MW), Khanikhola (30 MW), Lower Kharekhola (11 MW), Singati Khola (16 MW), and Kuthelibukhari (1 MW) will resume. Upper Tamakoshi has suffered a huge loss due to the earthquake on April 25 and subsequent aftershocks. The difficult access road of the project from Singati to Lamabagar has suffered the most damage. There have been landslides in dozens of places along the 28-kilometer section of the 68-kilometer Charikot-Lamabagar road constructed spending over Rs 2 billion. The road has slipped into the river at Borle Bhir, Kavre Bhir, Moure Bhir, Sisneri and many other places. The technical team of Nepal Army (NA) has said another track should be opened at those places.

The project itself had cleared and resumed the Singati-Gangor section of the road after the earthquake on April 25 and the strong aftershock a day later. But the powerful aftershock on May 12 struck even as the project was working to clear the Singati-Sorungkhola section. Two drivers of dozer clearing landslides have been missing after the May 12 aftershock and the dozers are also stuck in the landslide. The NA has taken initiative to clear the road from both Singati and Gongar in coordination with the project. The project’s excavator is being used in Gongar using fuel flown in chopper. The Barda Bahadur Battalion stationed at Charikot had got the road inspected by a team including engineers a few days ago. Head of the Battalion Biswas Bikram Shah said it will take a year to clear the road as per the preliminary study by engineers. Both cost and time for construction of the project will now be extended.

Project chief Bigyan Prasad Shrestha said the project’s tunnel is safe but there have been losses in the outer part. “There is no way construction can be resumed in lack of access road,” he stated. The project now plans to just open track for staffers, security persons and locals to trek as it will take a long time to clear the Gongar-Lamabagar section. The dam had settled by 17 centimeters by the earthquake on April 25. It may have suffered greater damage after the May 12 aftershock even though there has not been additional study after that. The project had planned to complete the dam before the monsoon. Construction of the project that had been obstructed for a month due to dispute about share allocation has again been stopped after the earthquake. There are just a few geologists and staffers to keep a watch over the project now. The project now looks set to be delayed by at least a year. Works done at Sunkoshi diversion and other roads at different places for transportation of major equipment for the project have also been of no use now after the earthquake. Equipment heavier than 70 tons have arrived at Birgunj customs and the earthquake has struck before the process to transport those equipment to the project site could start. Construction of Khanikhola-1 (80 percent completed) and Khanikhola is also obstructed due to road. Kuthelibukhari, that was set to start generation from start of May, also faces uncertainty after the earthquake.