Satish Kumar Sharma, CEO of SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company, said that digging had started to build an underground powerhouse. The underground powerhouse will be 179.5 metres long, 22.5 metres wide and 49.5 metres tall. “Along with the powerhouse, a transformer house will be constructed. All explosions are being carried out under the supervision of the Nepal Army,” he said.
A track from Chhyangkuti to Pakhuwa of Diding was opened last week to begin work at the powerhouse site. “Work will go into full swing after the road is constructed by March.” The construction of a bridge over the Khaguwa River on the Chhyangkuti-Diding road is at the final stage of completion. “Once the road becomes fully operational, it will enable us to work 24 hours a day by increasing the workforce to 6,000 individuals,” said Sharma.
The project has acquired 175 hectares of land for the project, including 48.87 hectares of private land and 123 hectares of forest land. The project has distributed Rs1.22 billion in compensation to the owners of the private land. The power generated by the plant will be evacuated via a 217-km, 400 kV double circuit transmission line. The estimated cost of erecting 501 towers for the power line that will be connected to the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur transmission line is Rs19.77 billion.
“We have submitted the details for the construction of the transmission line by clearing all land hurdles in Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Khotang, Udaypur, Siraha and Mahottari districts,” said Sharma. “But the government has been delaying issuing the permit for the construction of the lines.”
Investment Board Nepal and SJVN, an Indian government-owned entity, signed an agreement for the development of the Arun-3 project in November 2014. The project is slated to start producing energy by 2020, but that is unlikely to happen as the financial closure deadline has been pushed back twice by one year and six months. Nepal will receive Rs348 billion over 25 years from the project. The project developer will also provide 21.9 percent of the energy free of cost, which is worth Rs155 billion, plus another Rs107 billion in royalties.