Chances are slim that the construction of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project with a capacity of generating 456 megawatts electricity would be completed within next year.
Although works on the project are moving ahead rapidly, a complex situation of having to alter the 'slope' of the main headrace tunnel is likely to delay the works. Twelve kilometers of the total 16-kilometre-long tunnel has been completed.
As per the progress report of 21 Projects of National Pride released recently by the National Planning Commission (NPC), the project consultants have recommended altering the gradient at some portion of the underground power house and the transformer cavern ceiling.
The project is faced with the problem of revising the design as the project works cannot proceed ahead without resolving the problem that occurred in the penstock area, the last portion of the main tunnel. Engineers estimate that this will cost Rs 1.94 billion.
A 29-kilometre approach road has been constructed to the project site. It is said more than 50 percent of the project works have been completed. So far, more than Rs 13 billion has been spent on the project.
The estimated cost of the project is 35 billion 700 thousand rupees. Of this cost, the government will bear Rs. 4.7041 billion and Rs. 20 billion would be met through internal loans while Rs. 10.59 billion would be serviced from investment in share.
Revising the design of the project would increase the total estimated cost of the project by approximately Rs 2 billion.
It is said the project's annual income would be Rs 10 billion once it starts producing power. Nepal Electricity Authority has already entered into a power purchase agreement with the project at the rate of Rs 4.6 per unit kilowatt.
The Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project is one of the National Pride Projects and is expected to ease the current load-shedding supplying extra power to the national grid.