Bheri Babai to award contract to Nepali-Chinese joint ventureGuangdong Yuantian-Raman has been appointed to execute the hydropower component of the national pride project.
The Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project announced on Friday that it was appointing a Nepali-Chinese joint venture to execute the hydropower component, the scheme's second phase, three months after crossing a major milestone with the tunnel breakthrough.
The Rs33.18 billion national pride project located in western Nepal will irrigate farmlands in Banke and Bardia districts besides generating electricity.
The project office published a letter of intent indicating its decision to award the contract for the construction of the headworks, surge shaft, penstock and powerhouse to the lowest bidder Guangdong Yuantian-Raman. The joint venture had quoted the lowest price of Rs6.16 billion.
“We are planning to award the contract to the construction company within two weeks, and mobilise the contractor at the site by August as per standard procurement procedures,” said project chief Sanjeeb Baral. “The expected completion date of the project's second component—hydro and electromechanical works—is fiscal 2022-23.”
The project had pre-qualified five national-international joint ventures including Sinohydro, the Chinese contractor currently executing the civil works at the Upper Tamakoshi hydropower project in Dolakha, to execute the crucial hydropower component. The estimated cost of the hydropower component and other requisite civil structures stands at Rs15 billion.
According to Baral, the project office will now move to open the bids for the execution of the electromechanical component, which entails installing equipment in the powerhouse including generators and turbines. The project had issued an invitation for bids in January.
The successful bidder Guangdong Yuantian Engineering is a subsidiary of Guangdong Construction Engineering Group Corp. The company has implemented projects ranging from water conservation to urban rail transit and electric power engineering in 19 Chinese provinces and cities and eight overseas projects.
It’s Nepali joint venture partner Raman Construction has concrete lining, retaining projects, hydro mechanical installations and irrigation projects, such as Jamuni Kataha and Kamala Irrigation, in its portfolio.
The late Sushil Koirala inaugurated the Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project in April 2015. It achieved the tunnel breakthrough last April, one year ahead of schedule.
The tunnel will transfer water from the Bheri River to the Babai River at the rate of 40 cubic metres per second. The water will be used to provide year-round irrigation to 51,000 hectares of farmland and generate 46 MW of electricity.
The Rs10.57 billion tunnel component of one of the major strategic projects of the country is expected to ease the food crisis in the mid-western region by increasing agricultural yield. The project is expected to make an indirect financial contribution of Rs3.1 billion annually to the state through irrigation and a direct revenue contribution of Rs3.23 billion through electricity sales.
Since Bheri Babai is a government-owned project, it does not have to acquire an electricity generation licence from the Department of Electricity Development, and it can begin constructing the hydroelectricity scheme immediately after appointing a contractor.
The multipurpose project had planned to appoint a contractor for the second component by January, but it did not happen due to delays in preparing the design and obtaining approval from the Department of Irrigation. The government has also accorded priority to the multipurpose project in the budget for the current fiscal year.
Cost Breakdown (Government Estimate)
30.52 (As of Dec 2018)
Source: Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation
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