The Melamchi Project Drinking Water Project is estimated to have caused a loss of around Rs. 2 billion due to the floods.
According to Ram Kumar Shrestha, executive director of the Melamchi Drinking Water Development Committee, the initial estimate was Rs 1.88 billion.
The project estimates the damage is based on estimates of only minor damage to the permanent dam recently built by Chinese contractor Sino Hydro.
Although the tunnel was protected from floods, the external structures of the project, including the dam, are covered with stones, ballast, sand, and mud.
As the river is flowing over the constructed structure, the work of river control has to be done effectively.
“The exact extent of the damage can only be ascertained after a detailed study of all the flood-affected structures,” he said.
Preparations are underway to set up a project camp. According to Shrestha, it has not been possible to build a road to the dam site in co-operation with Helambu village municipality.
Even if the team arrives and returns to the project site, the situation is not comfortable as there is a risk.
“We want to prepare all the action plans before the end of the rainy season on when and how to do the work,” said Shrestha.
The project has stated that it is not possible to control the river by using an excavator from a helicopter.
It is estimated that the diversion tunnel of the project, which has been pumping water from the temporary dam, is full of mud. Project Chief Shrestha says that the tunnels could not be emptied due to flood damage even in the audit tunnels of Gyalthum and Ambathan.
Action plan under discussion
The Melamchi Drinking Water Project, which was closed for two months on June 15 for tunnel supervision, was destroyed by the flood on the same day.
If the government does not take an appropriate decision in time, the date of bringing water from the project to Kathmandu will be postponed.
The Melamchi Drinking Water Development Committee has prepared a draft of the ‘Rehabilitation Action Plan’ of the flood-hit Melamchi Drinking Water Project.
Though discussions are underway in the Ministry of Drinking Water, a new minister is awaited.
The draft action plan has also reached the Prime Minister’s Office and the Council of Ministers. The committee has been urging the government to create an environment for the implementation of the action plan. The project claims that Melamchi water can be brought back to Kathmandu by January-February if the work is done accordingly.
The project has proposed to carry out road and bridgework through the road department.
The project proposes to mobilize the Nepal Army or arrange a separate contract to remove the stones, sand, and soil from the dam area.
Since additional expenses have to be incurred, such decisions have to be taken at the cabinet meeting. Contractor Sino Hydro has refused to go to the site in the status quo.
“We want to bring Melamchi’s happiness back to Kathmandu as soon as possible,” says project chief Shrestha. “For that, we are now working at the planning level.