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Virus infection of workers halts works of Upper Dordi 'A'



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By Our Correspondent
Lamjung, Oct. 16: Construction works of Upper Dordi 'A' Hydropower Project, which has reached the final stage, have been halted.
The construction works of the project were halted after its high level employees, engineers, supervisors, drivers, security guards and workers got infected with the coronavirus.
So far, around 98 per cent construction works of the project have been completed. Liberty Energy Company Limited, the promoter of the 25 MW project, has targeted to complete the project by mid-November.
According to Rajendra Wasti, director of Liberty Energy Company Limited, the project has been closed since Wednesday as construction works could not be carried out.
“Coronavirus infected both employees inside the camp and outside workers at the powerhouse. The project, which has reached its final stage, has to be shut down," he said. “There is no certainty about the resumption of the project works as other workers are also at risk of infection.”
He said that the previous commercial power generation date set by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) of April 12 could not be met due to the spread of coronavirus and lockdown.
The project was preparing to generate electricity by the end of November, even though NEA has not provided new date for commercial power generation, he said. New commercial power generation date has not been received due to retirement of the then head of the NEA and appointment of new one pending, he added.
Coronavirus infection was confirmed in 27 persons including project staff and workers on Tuesday evening. Of 30 people tested, only three tested negative. Preparation has been made to test additional 30 persons on the basis of contact tracing.
According to the project, a worker who came from Kathmandu a week ago fell ill and tested positive for coronavirus. Throat swabs were taken on Sunday after 30 workers were found to be suffering from cough and fever.
The construction work of the Upper Dordi 'A' Hydropower Project, which was started in Falgun 2071 BS, was targeted to be completed by Ashar 2074 BS. But the 2015 earthquake and the blockade had affected the construction of the project.
Besides, ten workers working on the project were swept away and the structure of the project was damaged by a landslide on July 25 last year. "While moving ahead struggling with the problems of earthquake, blockade and floods, we now have to fight against COVID-19," he said.
The project has estimated that the cost of the project would increase by Rs. 676.09 million due to extension of construction period. Despite the initial target of Rs 3.96 billion, the investment is expected to increase to Rs 4.63 billion. The project with two Pelton turbines of 12.5 MW will generate 136.78 million units of electricity annually.
The dam of the project is being constructed in Dordikhola area in Ward No. 6 Dhodeni and 7 Faleni of Dordi Gaunpalika. Electricity will be generated by discharging the water channeled from the dam through tunnels and penstock pipes to the powerhouse constructed at Malebagar near Kirtipurbeshi.
Nine banks, led by Nepal Investment Bank, have invested in the project. The project has 70 per, cent bank loan and 30 per cent promoter's equity. 

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