People working at the key section of Melamchi Tunnel – 9.5 km from Sundarijal Sindhu section – which was completed on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. Photo: RSS

KATHMANDU:  The Melamchi Water Supply Project said that it was unlikely to meet the target of supplying water to Kathmandu Valley by October 2017, the third deadline for project completion.

According to the project, the remaining 4 km tunnel excavation should be completed by July 2017 to begin water supply from October. However, at the current pace of 16 to 22 metre excavation per day it would take another five to seven months for the project to complete. The project has only 71 days to complete its work before the October deadline.

Deputy Executive Director of the Melamchi Water Supply Board Ramakanta Duwadi said it was unlikely for the project to meet the deadline given the sluggish pace of tunnel excavation.

“Only if there is a miracle will the project be able to meet the deadline,” Duwadi told The Himalayan Times, adding, “We are, however, trying to speed up tunnel construction.”

As per the contractor, it only can only dig up to 24 metre tunnel per day. “Paying Rs 400 million to dig just 2 metre tunnel per day is not reasonable, so we did not accept the contractor’s second proposal,” said Duwadi.

The project contractor has imported advanced machines to speed up the pace of tunnel excavation with additional financial support of USD 3 million from the government. The contracting company CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna had asked the government to provide additional funds to make sure that the project was completed on time.

The project said the government had provided additional support after the contractor said it was unlikely to complete tunnel work on time without using new technology. On demand of the contractor, the government has provided an additional USD 3 million for tunnel excavation work.

Started in 21 December 2000, the Melamchi Water Supply Project is a project assisted by the Asian Development Bank, which aims to reduce the problems of drinking water scarcity in the Valley. The Melamchi Project envisages to supply 510,000,000 litres of water per day to the Valley from the Melamchi, Yangri, and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.

–  HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

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