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Construction of Melamchi project ‘head box’ impossible in stipulated time

Radio Nepal 13 Dec, 2020 2:59 pm

Kathmandu: The construction of ‘head box’ for the Melamchi drinking water project is impossible in the stipulated time due to the obstruction created by Covid-19. During the lockdown, the supply of both construction materials and the workforce was badly disrupted, thereby delaying the undertaking.

A Chinese construction company was assigned last year for the completion of remaining tasks of the tunnel including the ‘head box’. Information Officer at Melamchi Drinking Water Project, Rajendra Prasad Pant, informed the completion of the tunnel and headbox was scheduled before coming January, but it is now impossible.

Citing the reason for Covid-19 impact, the project term was getting extended for six more months. “We hope the project activities would complete by coming April,” he added.

For the test of the tunnel, the water was supplied from the temporary reservoir last July. Once the headbox is completed, the water is supply to tunnel via it.

The project continued despite calls from local people and local level to halt it amid Covid-19 risks.

It has been two decades since institutional initiatives were taken to bring Melamchi drinking water to the Kathmandu Valley. However, the project is yet to be completed. The Melamchi Drinking Water Development Committee was formed in 2056 BS. In 2001, an agreement was struck with the Asian Development Bank to implement the project.

After an Italian company left the project midway citing its economic bankruptcy, a Chinese company was awarded the contract to complete the remaining works. The Ministry of Water Supply has time and again set the date but without results.

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