Money

Errant Indian firm to outsource remaining tasks

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu
The project has spent Rs37.71 billion and completed 95 percent of the work so far

Jun 18, 2018-Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), the state-owned power utility has convinced the Indian contractor hired to handle hydro mechanical work of 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project to outsource its remaining tasks to another firm.

Texmaco Limited, the Indian contractor hired for the hydro mechanical work of the 456MW hydropower project will soon sign a contract with Andritz Hydro, the Austrian company to perform remaining jobs, according to the NEA.

Andritz Hydro is currently hired as the electromechanical contractor for the project.While the Austrian company is carrying out the work at war-footing, Texmaco is working at a snail’s pace, posing threat over timely completion of the project.

Senior officials of Andritz Hydro were at the project site last week to discuss with  Upper Tamakoshi project officials and Texmaco representatives about the job transfer. “During the meeting, there was a verbal agreement which will be followed by a written agreement soon,” said Ganesh Raj Neupane, spokesperson at the Upper Tamakoshi Project.  

The dillydallying by Texmaco Limited pushed NEA’s patience to the limit who in turn, asked the errant Indian firm to outsource the job to the Austrian firm.

The sub-contracting of the task is an alternative solution that the power utility proposed as breaking contract with the Indian firm and reappointing another contractor would take around three to four months.

This was a situation that the NEA wanted to avoid in order to finish the project in a timely manner.

As per the deadline set by the government, at least one out of six units of the 456MW project should start generating electricity by December 2018 and the entire project should be completed within April 2019.

Although civil and electro-mechanical contractors have no problem in meeting the deadline, the Indian contractor has yet to start fitting a penstock pipe at the tunnel, which the most challenging hydro-mechanical task. The penstock pipe is an enclosed metallic pipe used to deliver the water to the turbine for the electricity generation. Once Texmaco contracts out the job to the Austrian company, the latter will install the penstock pipe in the tunnel.

Work began at the 456 MW project in Dolakha before the 2015 earthquakes, and 79 percent of the civil works had been completed before the disaster struck. The quake and subsequent Indian trade blockade held up tunnel construction works.

The national pride project was originally scheduled to be completed in mid-July 2016, but it was delayed due to various technical and social issues. It faced cost overruns due to the delays. The project has spent Rs37.71 billion and completed 95 percent of the work so far. According to NEA sources, the total cost of the project is likely to exceed Rs50 billion, significantly higher than the initial estimate of Rs35.3 billion.

Nevertheless, the project is considered to be a role model project which is being developed with domestic resources and a high level of participation by project-affected locals and the general public.

Published: 18-06-2018 08:50

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