KATHMANDU, Nov 20: The much-awaited Melamchi Project has made public its amended work plan aiming to complete the project by March 2016.
Construction of the 27.5-kilometer tunnel and head works, one of the major tasks of the project of national pride was rescheduled very recently following the termination of contract with China Railway 15 Bureau Group.
The implementing agency of the project- Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB) has finalized the bidding document for the construction of the tunnel and head works and international bidding will be called within this week.
In order to commence construction works by the end of January, international bid will be invited by Friday said officiating Executive Director of Melamchi Project Ghanashyam Bhattarai.
The MWSDB will hold a meeting within a day or two and detailed bid document will be publicized, said Bhattarai claiming that the work will gain momentum as the government has placed the project under high priority.
The new work shall begin from where the China railway group has left and all issues related to the construction would be finalized today following discussion with the consultants, he said. The China Railway Group has already completed 6.5 kilometers of the tunnel.
Learning from the bitter experience of the past, the Board this time will award a contract with the company not quoting the lowest price but with high work efficiency, resources, technical capacity, human resource, success of the past among others, Mr Bhattarai said.
It may be noted that the construction of the tunnel also falls under the immediate action plan of administrative and economic reforms unveiled by the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers a few weeks ago.
The project that targets to supply 170 million litres of water daily is expect to cost more than 464 million US dollars. The construction of the tunnel and intake alone would cost around 100 million dollars.
The Asian Development Bank that has contributed the large amount of soft loan for the project has been working to ensure that the project is completed at any cost to resolve the drinking water problems of the residents of Kathmandu.
It may be noted that two days after the contract with China Railway Company was annulled, Director General of the South Asian Department of the Bank, Juan Miranda had organized a press conference in the capital and expressed commitment to continue support the project until its completion, even though its cost had increased.
The Company to be awarded the new contract to complete the tunnel shall receive a time of 36 months and would receive bonus if the work is completed before 6 months, said officiating executive director Mr Bhattarai.
If the new company works accordingly to receive a bonus then drinking water from Melamchi would arrive to the capital in March 2016. The project was estimated to be completed a year ago, but the China Railway Company delayed the work by repeatedly demanding for funds citing increasing cost.
Meanwhile, Vice-chairman of National Planning Commission, Dipendra Bahadur Khsetry said that the Government is expecting cooperation and support of all the sides concerned to complete the project as per the new schedule. No side should obstruct this project of national pride, he added.
By 2025, the capital would require 680 million liters of drinking water every day. Water supplied from Melamchi is expected to reach to some 1.1 million residents of Kathmandu.
The Melamchi Water Supply Project (MWSP) founded some 14 years ago was designed to finance four major components including Infrastructure Development, Social and Environmental Support, institutional reforms and Project implementation Support.
The MWSP was projected to cost 464 million US dollars in 2000. According to the original financial plan, ADB shouldered the largest financing share equivalent to 120 million US dollars followed by the World Bank (US$80 million), the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), US$52 million equivalent), NORAD (US$28 million equivalent), Sida (US$ 25 million equivalent), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA, $18 million equivalent), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development (OFID/OPEC), $14 million equivalent), and NDF ($9 million equivalent). The Government´s original financing share in the MWSP was equivalent to 118 million US dollars.