Melamchi: 8.3km tunnel works overIn a major breakthrough, the Melamchi Water Supply Project has completed digging of the 8.3-km tunnel along the Ambathan-Gyalthum stretch.
In a major breakthrough, the Melamchi Water Supply Project has completed digging of the 8.3-km tunnel along the Ambathan-Gyalthum stretch.
The tunnel work was completed on Friday midnight after two controlled explosions, project’s Information Officer Rajendra Panta said on Saturday. The walls of the tunnel are being plastered after the breakthrough, he added.
The remaining 443 metres of tunnel construction works between Gyalthum and Sindhu will be completed in two months, Ramchandra Devkota, executive director of the Melamchi Water Supply Board, told the Post.
“This is a major achievement for us. If we keep up this pace, we can supply water in Kathmandu Valley within four months,” Devkota added.
The project had completed the 9.5km tunnel works between Sindu and Sundarjijal last year. Subsequently, the MWSP had said it would pump water from the Melamchi river into the Valley by Dashain. But it was not to be, as the project was forced to extend its completion deadline to March 26, 2018. The tunnel works were originally scheduled to be completed in September 2016.
Once the tunnel works are completed, it would take just two days to train water from Ambathan Muhan in Helambu down 27.5 metres to Sundarijal, according to project officials. The MWSP has already built nine service reservoir tanks (SRTS) in the Valley for the water distribution.
The MWSP is considered to be the most viable long-term alternative to ease the chronic water shortage situation in the Valley. The project is designed to divert about 170 million litres of fresh water each day to the Valley from the Melamchi river in Sindhupalchok district
The Melamchi venture has been categorised as one of Nepal’s 21 national pride projects—a concept introduced during the prime ministership of Baburam Bhattarai in 2012 in an attempt to accelerate the construction of schemes considered vital for Nepal’s development. The tunnel works being constructed with 80 percent financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is likely to cost around Rs11 billion.