Govt to transfer its shares in project to public: Dahal
- RAJENDRA MANANDHAR, DOLAKHA
Nov 9, 2016- Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said the government is working to transfer its shares in the Upper Tamakoshi Hydro Power Project to the underprivileged and families of martyrs and those who disappeared during the conflict. The Prime Minister, during a surprise visit to the project site on Tuesday, said the Rs11 billion loan the government has provided to the project will be converted into equity and distributed as shares. PM Dahal urged the project’s staff and Nepal Electricity Authority’s (NEA) chief to complete the 456MW project, being built with domestic investment, six months prior to the deadline. “If the project is completed early, the government will award the entire workforce involved in the project,” said Dahal. Around 80 percent the construction work has so far been completed.
The project of national pride was scheduled to be completed by mid-July 2016, but like last year’s earthquakes and India’s blockade, and other technical and social issues, pushed back the completion date. The project is located in Dolakha, one of the districts hard hit by the tremors. According to NEA, it will take 20 more months for the project to complete. “The construction work has gathered pace,” said NEA Spokesperson Prabal Adhikari. “The project will go online by July 2018. This is a very realistic projection as everything is going on pretty smoothly,” he said. After multiple amendments, the total project cost has been estimated at Rs35.29 billion, out of which Rs30 billion has so far been spent. However, the cost is expected to rise, as per the project’s progress report as of mid-June 2016.
The report has attributed the earthquakes and blockade for the delay as well as increase in cost. Besides, frequent flooding during the monsoon also affected the work, according to NEA. Out of six units in the powerhouse, construction of four units is underway. Also, construction of a 47km 220kva transmission line is expected to be completed soon.