By Belina Thapa, Lamjung, May 23: Construction of as many as nine hydroelectricity projects in Lamjung district has been entirely affected ever since the nationwide lockdown against spread of COVID-19 was implemented on March 24.
Managers of the nine under construction hydel-projects with 202 megawatt aggregate capacity said construction works of the projects were hampered for lack of supply of construction materials and sufficient number of workers.
Although the government, after two weeks into lockdown, urged the large construction projects to continue works, developers could not do so as they failed to manage necessary resources at the local level.
The managers viewed they faced problems as construction materials including cement, sand, steel bars needed to be brought in from other districts and equipment for the project is to be imported from countries like China and India, but lockdown created constraints in all this.
Name of hydel projects in Lamjung affected by lockdown
Super Dordi B
Upper Dordi A
Upper Chhandi Khola
Keshab Bahadur Rayamajhi, managing director of the Super Dordi B Hydro Electricity Project, said head-works of the project got halted due to lack of materials although it was started. He said 65 per cent of the project construction work was completed and estimated project completion period would be delayed by a year because of the lockdown.
"Main thing of the head-works is that it should be completed before the rainy season. No work relating to this can be done after mid-June when monsoon starts and rivers and rivulets swell with the rainwater. Lockdown started at the prime time for the head-works of our project. Now, even if lockdown is eased or lifted, no condition exists for us to resume work. We are bound to start head-works in December or January," said Rayamajhi.
97 per cent construction work of Upper Dordi A Hydro-electricity Project has been completed. Although the project completed works related to civil structure of the dam amid lockdown, it could not proceed ahead with works of power house and transmission line.
Rajendra Osti, director of the project, said the project was to start generating electricity starting from mid-April by completing all construction work, but it did not happen due to lack of construction materials. He hoped construction work could be completed by mid-June if construction materials were supplied immediately.
Construction of another hydel-projects being made in the Dordi Khola (stream), Dordi Khola Hydroelectricity Project, 27mw, has also been halted owing to lockdown.
Guru Prasad Dhakal, CEO of Himalayan Power Partner Limited, Promoter Company of the project, said lockdown had an adverse impact on the project's action plan to complete construction work by mid-June. "Workers went home," he said, "Now, there are neither workers nor is there construction material."
Construction work of Nyadi Hydroelectricity Project, 30mw, has been affected for the last four months. Although 90 per cent construction work of the project has been completed, it has been affected since first week of January.
Basudev Gadtaula, CEO of the project, said construction work had halted after Chinese workers of the project went home in the first week of January and got stuck there due to COVID-19 lockdown. When they returned, works could not go ahead as fear of spread of the novel coronavirus infection grew. He said construction work was stopped now due to lack of materials. However, work related to turbine connection in the power house is going on, he said.