Construction work at Mid-Tamor project goes on despite lockdownThe 73 megawatt hydropower plant in Taplejung is slated to be completed next year.
Work at the construction site of the Mid-Tamor Hydropower Project in Taplejung is continuing smoothly despite the virus lockdown that has grounded the entire population and paralysed economic activities.
Project chief Mani Kumar Pokhrel said that construction work on the tunnel and other components of the 73 megawatt plant had not stopped.
According to Pokhrel, the Chinese company that has been contracted with the construction work is carrying out its assignment. He said that 56 percent of the tunnel construction work had been completed so far. Similar progress has been achieved at other sections of the project.
Some of the Chinese workers had already returned to their homes to celebrate the Chinese New Year when the coronavirus outbreak began spreading in Wuhan, China. Others were preparing to leave for the holidays but were prevented from doing so after lockdowns were imposed in China and subsequently in Nepal.
Those who returned to work via Kathmandu were kept in quarantine for 14 days. According to the project, those who did not go to China for a month, and those who came later were issued different helmets.
According to Pokhrel, around 200 Chinese workers are currently working at the construction site. Local manpower has also been hired.
"The temperature of the workers is checked every day in the mornings and evenings. We isolate those who come from outside," he said. The project has taken the help of the ward chairperson and the police after not being able to completely stop people coming from outside, he added.
Arrangements have been made for the truck drivers and their helpers to have their meals outside the project premises, and there is no problem in bringing construction materials.
Pokhrel said that the construction was progressing without problems due to the fine support provided by local representatives and the administration. The contractor has made separate arrangements for the supply of vegetables. Meat, vegetables and food items are being provided by local trader Hem KC. He obtains food items from the district and also other places if there is no adequate supply locally.
The hydropower project is slated to be completed by 2021. It is estimated to cost Rs12 billion, 75 percent of which is borrowed capital and the rest equity capital.
The project has constructed a 3,367-metre tunnel. A 50-metre-long and 11-metre-high dam will be built, and water will be sent into the dumping area through a side intake.
Three underground chambers, each 100 metres long and 13 metres wide, will be constructed for sand traps. Sand and silt will be dumped in the Tamor River.
The plant will have four turbines, each with a capacity of 18.25 megawatts. The powerhouse will be built in Khakling of Miklakhola rural municipality. The tail water will be discharged into the Tamor River through a 75-metre canal.
The Sanima Middle Tamor Hydropower Project upgraded the generation capacity from the initial 54 megawatts to 73 megawatts. The capacity was increased with a rise in the height of the lake.
According to Abindra Shrestha, an environment expert at the company, the headbox has been shifted 1,200 metres upstream, and the powerhouse has been shifted 1,000 metres downstream to Thumbabesi. The river's flow has been estimated at 73.71 cubic metres per second.