Chinese contractor resumes work at Dhalkebar
- Post Report, Kathmandu
Almost 90 percent of the work at the project site has been completed, and it will take at least three months to complete the project, according to Mahato
Jul 30, 2017-
A Chinese company hired to build a critical power substation at Dhalkebar, which will enable the country to increase electricity imports from India during the dry season, has resumed work after a week-long hiatus. Central Power Grid International Economic and Trade Corporation, the Chinese contractor that is working on 220 kV Substation Project at Dhalkebar, had stopped all works at the construction site a week ago without formally informing Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility and the owner of the substation.
The contractor finally mobilised workers at the construction site on Friday. With this, the construction work has resumed, but it is moving ahead at a slow pace, according to NEA. The work resumed after NEA warned of contract termination. “We are still not sure, if the contractor will continue to work seriously and complete the job on time,” said Radhe Saran Mahato, chief of the substation project.
Almost 90 percent of the work at the project site has been completed, and it will take at least three months to complete the project, according to Mahato. If the project is not completed by October, it will hit the power utility’s plan to increase electricity imports from India via Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line during the dry season.
NEA has repeatedly said it will be difficult to keep the country load-shedding free during the upcoming dry season if the substation at Dhalkebar is not completed immediately. Nepal’s electricity demand is expected to increase by around 200 MW then.
Even though the country’s installed capacity of hydroelectricity is expected to go up by additional 130MW by this dry season, power generation is expected to drop by a third around that time when water level goes down in most of the river basins.
But if the 220 kV substation is built at Dhalkebar by that time, the country can import another 100 MW of power from India using the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur cross-border transmission line. Currently, the cross-border transmission line has the capacity to import 160 MW of electricity.
As per the deal signed between NEA and the Chinese company in June 2014, the substation should have been up and running by September 2015. But the deadline was continuously pushed back.
The deadline was extended for the third time till May 31, 2017, but the project still remains incomplete. NEA had been mulling over extending the deadline till October 2017 when the contractor abruptly stopped work, according to the state-owned power utility.
The Chinese company started exhibiting defiance to build the substation after NEA terminated its contract for the Bharatpur-Bardaghat 220 kV Transmission Line Project signed almost seven years ago. The Chinese contractor had asked the NEA to make a price adjustment, but as there was no such provision in the contract, the power utility terminated the contract. NEA said the Chinese contractor was delaying works at the Dhalkebar substation site to coerce the state-owned power utility to rethink on its decision to terminate contract for the Bharatpur-Bardaghat 220 kV Transmission Line Project.