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95% tunnel excavation work completed

File photo of Melamchi Drinking Water project tunnel.

KATHMANDU:  Melamchi Water Supply Project is close to achieving tunnel breakthrough with excavation of 95 per cent of the project tunnel completed.

According to Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, 25994.1 metres of the 27584.5-metre tunnel has been excavated so far. With this, only 1590.40 metre tunnel remains to be excavated.

Executive Director at MWSDB Ram Chandra Devkota said they were making best possible efforts to complete the remaining 5 per cent tunnel excavation work by December. “We are focused on speeding up daily excavation by digging up to 20 metres against the current speed of 16 meters per day on an average,” Devkota told The Himalayan Times, “If everything goes as planned, tunnel excavation work will be completed by December and the project will start supplying water to Kathmandu Valley by the last week of March next year.”

He said since the contractor had promised to complete tunnel work by December and start supplying water from March 26, 2018, MWSDB was hopeful that Kathmandu residents would finally be relieved of their water woes.

Last month, project contractor CMC Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti di Ravenna had submitted water delivery schedule promising to start supplying water from March 26 next year.

Kathmandu Valley will be supplied 170,000,000 litres of water per day from the Melamchi River from March 26, 2018, in the first phase. In the second phase, the project envisages supplying 340,000,000 litres of additional water per day to the Valley by bringing water from Yangri and Larke rivers of Sindhupalchowk district.

The contractor has already made it clear that after tunnel breakthrough, it would take at least three months for the project to begin water supply.

The Melamchi project’s first deadline expired in 2007 and second deadline in 2016. On April 3, the deadline was extended to October 2017. For that tunnel construction deadline was fixed for July 2017, but the project missed this deadline too.

Started on 21 December 2000, the Melamchi Water Supply Project is assisted by the Asian Development Bank and aims to reduce drinking water scarcity in the Valley.

–  HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

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