SURKHET: The work of the second package of ‘Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project’, a national pride project, has started after four months of completion of tunnel construction. Under the second package, powerhouse, dam, and surge shaft will be constructed. The Department of Water Resources and Irrigation had signed an agreement with Raman-Guangdong JV on July 29, 2019 for the construction of the structures.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had announced the breakthrough of 12.2 kilometers tunnel from Babai’s Hattikhola to Bheri’s Chiple in April. Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) was used for the first time in Nepal for the construction of tunnel. China Overseas Engineering Group Company (COVEC) had completed the construction of tunnel one year earlier to the deadline as per the agreement.
The department had initiated for the tender procedure to start the work of the second package after the completion of the construction of tunnel. Raman-Guangdong JV has been handed over the contract of Rs 500.03 billion for the construction of the powerhouse, dam and surge shaft. The JV has set up camps at two locations—Chiple and Babai—for the construction of dam and powerhouse, and surge shaft, respectively.
Crusher plant has been transported for 100,000 cubic meters used for dam construction and 50,000 cubic meters concrete for powerhouse construction. “We have started leasing individual’s lands for the installation of the plant,” Ram Shrestha, field chief of Raman-Guangdong JV, said. “We have targeted to finish establishment of the plant before Dashain festivals.”
He added that camp construction in Chiple and Babai, establishment of crusher plant, and selection of technical and non-technical manpower will be completed until Dashain. “We have planned to complete all the procedures before Dashain and start construction work as soon as the festivals end,” Shrestha said, “We have targeted to complete the national pride project on time.”
A barrage with six gauges in Chiple should be constructed to divert Bheri’s water to Babai River. The 114-meter-long barrage will be 14 meters in height. For the construction of bridge with barrage, manpower from China and India will be deployed in the project. About 2,000 workers are needed on daily basis for the construction of such structures in the Bheri-Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project. The construction company has received the work order to complete the construction of powerhouse, dam and surge shaft within mid-August 2023.
The project has an aim of irrigating 51,000 hectares of land in Banke and Bardiya and produce 48 megawatt power in Hattikhola. Though it will take four years to complete the project, 8 to 10 cusec water will be diverted to Babai.
According to project chief Sanjeev Baral, Bheri’s water will be diverted to Babai through tunnel for six months a year until the powerhouse is constructed. “We will look at the impact in biodiversity of lower coastal area after the water is diverted from Bheri to Babai,” he said, “Along with it, the impact in the land that will be irrigated with Bheri’s water will be studied.”
After the completion of the project 40 cusec water will be diverted from Bheri to Babai throughout the year.