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Bheri Babai ready to start hydropower component

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 13, 2018-

The Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project is preparing to call a global tender to appoint a contractor to build the hydropower component as more than 60 percent of the construction work on the tunnel has been completed.

The 12-km tunnel will be used to divert water from the Bheri River to the Babai River to irrigate farmland and generate electricity. The national pride project office plans to issue the tender notice within one to two months, according to the government appointed project chief Sanjib Baral.

“Currently, we are reviewing the design and estimating the total cost of the second component of the project. Within two months, we will complete the review and call for tenders to appoint a consultant and contractor for the project,” said Baral. “It will take at least four-five months to evaluate the proposals from prospective contractors. If everything goes as planned, we will be able to start the construction of the power plant within

six-seven months.”

As Bheri Babai is a government-owned project being implemented by the Department of Irrigation, it doesn’t have to get a generation licence from the Department of Electricity Development, and it can start the construction of the project immediately.

Bheri Babai is located in Bheri-Ganga Municipality in Surkhet district in western Nepal. It will have a 15-metre high dam and divert 40 cubic metres of water per second from the Bheri River to the Babai River. The water will be used to irrigate 51,000 hectares of land round the year in Banke and Bardia districts and generate 48 MW of electricity.

China Overseas Engine- ering Group, the contractor appointed to execute the irrigation component of the project, has completed digging 7.5 km of the 12-km tunnel using a tunnel boring machine. The irrigation-cum-hydropower project is using the machine to dig a tunnel for the first time in the country.

Bheri Babai is one of the strategic projects of the country, as it is expected to ease the food crisis in the mid-western region by increasing agricultural yield.

The government had invited bids for the construction of the project in July 2012, but lack of resources and delays in the appointment of a contractor prevented the four-year project from getting off the ground. The construction of the project was finally inaugurated in April 2015 by the then prime minister, the late Sushil Koirala.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs16 billion.

It is expected to make an indirect financial contribution of Rs3.1 billion to the state, and a direct revenue contribution of Rs2.1 billion through electricity sales.

Published: 13-09-2018 08:18

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