Minister Magar vows to bring Melamchi waters to Kathmandu by mid-July

KATHMANDU, Feb 13: Minister for Water Supply Bina Magar on Thursday vowed to bring Melamchi waters to Kathmandu by mid-July.

Addressing a press meet organized to issue a whitepaper on the long-delayed Melamchi Drinking Water Project, the minister claimed that the Melamchi waters will be brought to Kathmandu by the end of the current fiscal year.

During the press meet held at the ministry, Executive Director of the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board Tiresh Prasad Khatri said that 94 per cent of physical infrastructure work of the project has been completed. According to him, Rs 27.94 billion has been spent to construct the project so far.

Ministry of Drinking Water stated that the whitepaper has been issued in a bid to clarify the status of the drinking water project, one of the national pride projects.

After several months of indecision and uncertainty, the government had signed an agreement with Chinese contractor Sinohydro Corporation Limited to complete the remaining construction work of the Melamchi Water Supply Project in September last year.

Sinohydro, which is the fourth company selected for completing the remaining tunnel work of the project, was given one year to complete the work. The contract amount is Rs 850.1 million.

The Chinese company has accelerated the construction work after signing the deal, according to ED Khatri.

With 94 percent work completed, the project remains in limbo after the last contractor Italian company Cooperativa Muratori e Cementisti (CMC) abandoned the project on December 17, 2018.

Faced with acute shortage of water, people living in Kathmandu have been waiting for the project to complete since the past three decades.

According to officials, some 700 meters of the tunnel has yet to be plastered with cement. Similarly, other technical works such as headworks construction and installation of ventilator shafts remain to be done.

Sinohydro, which is already working on various other Nepali hydropower projects including the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project and 140 MW Tanahun Hydropower Project, has agreed to complete the Melamchi work in 30 percent less amount than the estimate.

– Republica

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