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Bheri Babai calls bids for hydropower component

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Jan 12, 2019-

The Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project finally moved to appoint a contractor to execute its hydropower component. The project office initiated the public procurement process Wednesday to select a contractor by publishing a notice inviting interested firms to apply for prequalification to construct the headworks, surge shaft, penstock and powerhouse. 

Hopeful contractors have to send in their application for prequalification by February 22. After the project office finishes evaluating the proposals, it will ask shortlisted firms to submit their request for proposals in two envelopes--technical and financial.

The project office will then evaluate the technical proposal of the prospective contractors, and open the financial proposals of the bidders who are technically qualified. 

According to Sanjib Baral, the government appointed project chief of Bheri Babai, the project office is planning to complete the public procurement process within five months. “Our plan is to mobilise the contractor at the project site to execute the hydropower component by this fiscal year,” said Baral. 

The multipurpose project should have hired the contractor for the second component by this date, but it was held up by delays in preparing the design and receiving approval from the Department of Irrigation. The department took more than two months to approve the design of the hydropower component of the multipurpose project. 

Construction work on the irrigation component of the project is progressing at a rapid pace. The project office has completed digging more than 85 percent of the 12-km tunnel. The national pride project, which is using a tunnel boring machine for the first time in Nepal, has excavated more than 10.5 km of tunnel, the key component of the irrigation-cum-hydropower scheme. 

The tunnel will be used to divert water from the Bheri River to the Babai River to irrigate farmland and generate electricity. 

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 throughout the year in Banke and Bardia districts and generate 46.8 MW of electricity.

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.

Published: 12-01-2019 09:06

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