Kulekhani III likely to be online in JulyConstruction work at the troubled Kulekhani III Hydropower Project has gained momentum lately as its two contractors are working on a war footing.
Construction work at the troubled Kulekhani III Hydropower Project has gained momentum lately as its two contractors are working on a war footing.
The project’s owner the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has said the 14 MW hydropower plant will go online in six months if both contractors maintain the current pace of work.
Sino Hydro, the civil contractor of the project, has completed 97 percent
of the work while Jheijian Jialin Company, the contractor for the hydro
and electro mechanical works, has completed installing 40 percent of the plant and machinery.
Although the civil works are almost complete, the hydro and electro mechanical works have been progressing at a slower pace.
“The hydro and electro mechanical contractor has imported around 80 percent of the parts and completed installing 40 percent of the equipment,” said Subash Mishra, project chief of Kulekhani III. “Now the contractor has to install the two 7 MW turbines.”
The two contractors had agreed to complete the project by the end of July 2017 during a meeting with Energy Minster Janardan Sharma on December 25.
The project’s completion deadline has been extended four times since construction began in April 2008. It was originally scheduled to be finished by 2012.
When the project missed the deadline, it was extended by 30 months.
When that deadline too passed without the project nowhere near completion, the target was pushed back once again till the end of the last fiscal year.
NEA officials have blamed the hydro and electro mechanical contractor for the slow progress at the hydropower project.
“The project completion date was pushed back repeatedly due to dillydallying by the construction company,” said Mishra. “Also, the Chinese officials representing Jheijian Jialin rarely stayed at the project site or elsewhere in Nepal, making it very difficult to contact them.”
However, the contractors began moving faster after being prodded by the prime minister and the energy minister. They have pledged to meet the fourth deadline, Mishra said.
“During a meeting with the energy minister, the contractor agreed to send its officials to the project site by mid-February and keep them there till the job was done,” he said.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had directed project officials to expedite the construction and complete it on time during his visit to the project site last December. When they complained about the apathy of the Chinese contractor, he said the government would take up the issue with the Chinese government.
The project has encountered cost overruns due to delays, and the developer has spent double the amount of money originally estimated.
The initial estimated cost of the project was Rs2.43 billion, but its cost has ballooned to Rs4.22 billion. In May 2014, the National Planning Commission declared Kulekhani III a troubled project.