February 14: The government has promised to deliver water from Melamchi to the denizens of Kathmandu valley within mid-July this year.
Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation Bina Magar made such commitment while unveiling the whitepaper of the Melamchi Water Supply Project in the capital on Thursday (February 13).
Although the completion of the much-awaited project has been pushed back time and again, the government is hopeful this time since the complex works of the project have been completed while the remaining works are being done in war footing.
The project officials expect to bring water from Melamchi to Sundarijal by mid-July.
Minister Magar said that the date has been fixed on the basis of work progress made at the current pace.
The minister claimed that the project will be completed within the next five months.
“The delay in completion of the project has frustrated the valley denizens. To ensure that the project will not be delayed again, we have come up with a definite timeframe and the deadline will be met this time because the works are being carried out as per the schedule,” said Minister Magar.
Five months ago, the government had signed separate agreements with China’s Sino Hydro Corporation to complete the tunnel and head work of the project within 12 and 15 months respectively.
If the company undertakes the work as per the agreement, it is unlikely to meet the target of supplying water within mid-July.
However, the agreement also states that the government will provide bonus to Sino Hydro Corporation if it completes the work before the stipulated time while it can impose a fine if the Chinese company fails to meet the deadline.
Executive Director of the project Tiresh Prasad Khatri said that the Chinese company is an experienced company and the motivation of 10 percent bonus coupled with its experience will help them meet the revised target.
Khatri said that the inordinate delay in the project was earlier caused by the previous contractors and the workers but such problems no longer exist.
“The company is working on a war footing,” said Khatri.
Khatri informed that they have achieved 53percent progress in completing the head works while a coffer dam is almost 40 percent complete.
The government had awarded the contract of Melamchi Water Supply Project to the Chinese company after the Italian contractor, CMC di Ravenna, which was undertaking the project earlier, pulled out of the contract unilaterally more than a year ago with just 5 percent works remaining.
The government signed a deal worth Rs 850 million with the Chinese company on September 29 to complete the tunnel work while another deal of Rs 1.2 billion was signed on October 11 to complete the head works.
The project had informed while signing the agreements that the government will roll out bonus three times more the amount decided for the previous contractor CMC di Ravenna, which unilaterally abandoned the project in December 2018 while it was near completion.
Government authorities claim than 95 percent of the works were completed with only the finishing and head works of the tunnel remaining by the time the Italian company pulled out of the project.
Other eight packages under the project have been awarded to the sub-contractors working for the Italian company.