Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower: A dream still in the pipeline

KATHMANDU: Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) established an autonomous company named Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited (UTKHPL) in March, 2007,to construct the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project. It was back then that the 456-megawatt project received the government’s nod and entered the project development phase. However, even after all these years the project still has to see the light of day.

The Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project, which is the largest project till date in Nepal under the implementation phase, has been mired in various difficulties like disputes related to land compensation and the earthquakes of 2015 since the last 13 years. All these obstacles have caused constant delays in the development and implementation of the project.

The delay in the construction of the project has not only let the morale of the hydropower sector down but has also considerably raised the project development cost. Initial estimates had put the project development cost at Rs 35 billion which has now more than doubled to Rs 78 billion.

Since construction of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project has not been completed till date it is yet to start power generation, only after which can the project enter the revenue generation phase.

Though necessary tests related to the project’s dam, headworks, descender and semi-reservoir have been completed a few works regarding installation of pipes are yet to be completed. As of today, a 22-metre-high and 60-metre-wide dam has been constructed and the reservoir has been filled with water.

Meanwhile, Texmaco Railway Engineering of India, which is responsible for installing penstock pipes along 373 metres of the vertical tunnel has installed pipes along 145 metres of the tunnel. Similarly, Andritz Hydro, an Austria-based contractor, which is responsible for installing penstock pipes along 310 metres of the tunnel, has completed installing 250 metres of pipes so far.
Officials involved with the project claim that the global coronavirus pandemic initially did not affect the project as they have already completed 99.3 per cent of physical works so far. However, of late,authorities say that the pandemic has been affecting the project making it difficult to meet its target of starting power generation from mid-October.

As a result of the pandemic, different consultants of the project have not been able to come to Nepal. Similarly, the project is also facing difficulty in obtaining construction materials for Lot 2 of the project due to the restriction in inter-district movement of vehicles.


Fiscal Nepal |
Monday August 17, 2020, 03:35:10 PM |

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