Complete Upper Tamakoshi on time: OliPrime Minister KP Sharma Oli has directed the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and officials of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project to complete the plant on time.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has directed the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and officials of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project to complete the plant on time.
Making a visit to the construction site on the Tamakoshi River east of Kathmandu on Wednesday, Oli said that nobody would be allowed to make any kind of excuse to push back the completion deadline. The 456
MW scheme is a strategic project designed to turn Nepal into an energy surplus country from an energy deficit country, he added.
Oli said that the Upper Tamakoshi project must start generating electricity from one of its six units by December 2018 and being the rest online by May 2018.
“This is a national pride project, and I am ready to provide any kind of help to complete its construction on time,” project officials quoted Oli as saying. “I expect the same kind of dedication from all the stakeholders to complete the project.”
Responding to complaints by project officials that Texamaco Rail and Engineering, the Indian contractor hired to execute the hydro-mechanical works, had been negligent, Oli assured them that he would even use diplomatic channels to make the company work faster.
Bigyan Raj Shrestha, the NEA-appointed project chief of Upper Tamakoshi, said the Indian contractor’s negligence might push back the project’s completion date.
“The contractor is currently erecting a vertical shaft in the tunnel, but it has been working very slowly,” said Shrestha. “Also, we are facing difficulties in transporting heavy electro-mechanical equipment that need to be installed at the hydropower plant due to the bad state of the 60-km road from Khadichaur to Charikot, Dolakha.”
NEA Managing Director Kulman Ghising, who accompanied the prime minister on his visit to the project site, said timely launch of the project was crucial to reduce power imports from India. “We are importing electricity worth Rs15 billion annually,” said Ghising. “Once the project comes online, we will be in a position to export power at least during the wet season.”
Around 95 percent of the construction has been completed as of date, and work is progressing slowly. Project officials are blaming the poor state of the road and the negligence of the hydro-mechanical contractor for the lack of progress.
The national pride project was originally scheduled to be completed in mid-July 2016, but the earthquake, Indian trade blockade and various technical and social issues pushed back the completion date. Before the earthquake hit the country, the project had completed 79 percent of the civil works.
It also faced cost overruns due to the delays. The project is now expected to cost Rs49 billion, up from the previous estimate of Rs35.3 billion. Nevertheless, the project is considered to be a role model project which is being developed with domestic resources and a high level of participation by project-affected locals and the general public.
‘Ready to listen to private sector’
KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that the government is ready to listen to the grievances of the private sector and strengthen ties in order to grow the economy. Without a marked increase in investment from the private sector, the government will not be able to boost economic growth, he said speaking at the 52nd annual general meeting of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) here on Wednesday.
As there are still enormous challenges in increasing inclusive growth, the premier said that the new government is ready to cooperate on various frontiers, such as tourism, agriculture, energy and manufacturing sectors.
FNCCI President Bhawani Rana urged the government to come up with immediate steps regarding energy development, one-window policy for investment, revision of old laws and regulations, promotion of export oriented products and stability in interest rates. She urged the government to declare 2018-2028 as “prosperity campaign decade” and remove hassles in paying taxes.
“Although our economy is not performing well, it has room for growth and immense investment potential. Hence, the government should take immediate steps to send messages that the country has embarked on an investment-friendly era, said Rana. (PR)