The construction of the tunnel of Melamchi Drinking Water Project has gathered pace for the past two months.
Of total 11,484 meter of tunnel constructed as of 11 February 2015, the longest construction was undertaken in December at the rate of 23.9 meter a day and 24 metre per day in January. The entire length of the tunnel to be constructed as part of the project stands at 27,582 meters.
The then Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had laid the foundation stone for tunnel construction in Sundarijal, Kathmandu in 2010.
Chinese Contractor Company ´China Railway 15 Bureau Group Corporation and China CMIIC Engineering Corporation JV was awarded the contract for the construction of headwork and tunnel on 19 February 2009 but the contract was withdrawn owing to the inability of the company to complete the task by 2 September 2013.
According to Madhav Nepal, engineer at the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board (MWSDB), the Chinese company could not bring in the necessary equipment on time to construct the tunnel. The Chinese company had only constructed 6,444 meters of the tunnel. Later an Italian Company Cooperativa Muratori Cementisti (CMC) Di Ravenna was awarded the tender which is to complete the task by 30 September 2016. Although the construction of tunnel has been undertaken from various seven places, the longest tunnel has been constructed from Sundarijal, standing at 3,651 metre.
The digging of tunnel has also a lot to with the type of rock that comes in the way, shared Engineer Sudan Kharel. Softer the rock, longer the time it takes to construct tunnel. Stakeholders believe that the MWSDB could supply the water ahead of its target if the construction of tunnel moves ahead in the current pace. The Melamchi project initially is likely to supply 170 litres of potable water to Kathmandu on a daily basis as against 350 litres of water that is required in the Capital for 5 million population. Amir Zakariya, a consultant, shared that the capacity of Melamchi will be augmented later to 510 litres per day. RSS