First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: The Nagadhunga-Naubise tunnel route is facing an increase in cost by four billion rupees due to the discovery of weak rock during tunnel excavation, leading to necessary support structures and an extended construction period.
Naveenman Shrestha, the project manager, confirmed the rise in project cost from the initial 13.33 billion rupees, citing abnormal geological conditions and prolonged construction timelines.
Originally estimated at 16.5 billion rupees, with 6.5 billion rupees from the Japanese aid agency JICA, the project involved 13.33 billion rupees for tunnel construction and 3.5 billion for consulting firms, with an additional 6 billion allocated for the compensation of the Nepal government.
The project, initially set to be completed by April 26, 2023, faced an initial extension of 86 days, pushing the deadline to April 25, 2024. However, completion within the revised timeframe appears uncertain.
Shrestha has submitted a file to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, urging adherence to the initial cost phase based on the old contract rules.
A 40-year loan from JICA is funding the project, with Nepal repaying the principal after 20 years at a minimal interest rate of 0.01 percent. Shrestha noted that various equipment installations, including the Surung Margan ventilator and lighting, are pending. The completion of the entire tunnel project is anticipated within a year, enabling vehicle travel.
With only 200 meters remaining to break through the main tunnel, 51.50 percent of the ground slope-concrete lining work has been finished. The project’s overall physical progress is at 65.35 percent, with a financial progress of 60.82 percent.
While 95 percent of the land needed for the ‘flyover’ construction has been allocated, Shrestha expressed confidence in completing the tunnel within the next year. Despite the delays, the project manager assured that efforts are underway to expedite the remaining construction work.
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