Sunkoshi-Marin diversion multipurpose project tunnel achieves breakthrough

KATHMANDU: In a significant milestone for Nepal’s infrastructure development, the Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Multipurpose Project tunnel has achieved a breakthrough, marking a crucial step forward in the country’s pursuit of energy and irrigation solutions.

The breakthrough ceremony, attended by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, was held in Sunkoshi Rural Municipality-7, Kandhungri, commemorating the completion of the monumental tunnel.

Prime Minister Dahal initiated the breakthrough by activating the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) switch, symbolizing the culmination of extensive efforts and meticulous planning.

The TBM, which embarked on its journey from Kamalamai Municipality-2, Kusumtar—the project’s entrance—successfully emerged from Kandhungri on the banks of the Sunkoshi river, marking the completion of a remarkable 13.3-kilometer tunnel.

Mitra Baral, head of the Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Multi-Purpose Project, lauded the achievement, emphasizing that the tunnel breakthrough was accomplished a year ahead of schedule, underscoring the efficiency and dedication of the project team.

The tunnel, a testament to engineering excellence, was completed in a commendable timeframe of 19 months, boasting an impressive daily progress rate of 72 meters. Baral attributed the success to the relentless efforts of the project workforce, despite encountering six brief interruptions primarily caused by dry landslides hampering the TBM’s progress.

The project encompasses a state-of-the-art 5.5-meter diameter tunnel, coupled with plans for the construction of a 30-meter high and 158-meter long dam on the Sunkoshi river in Kandhungri. Once operational, the tunnel will channel water into the Marin River in Kusumtar, enabling the generation of 31.07 megawatts of electricity from a 66-meter water drop—an essential step towards meeting Nepal’s energy demands and fostering sustainable development.

The construction contract for the tunnel was awarded to the renowned Chinese company China Overseas Engineering Group Co Ltd (COVEC), renowned for its expertise in tunnel construction demonstrated in previous projects such as the Bheri-Babai Diversion project.

Baral disclosed that COVEC undertook the contract for an undisclosed sum, highlighting the company’s commitment to delivering high-quality infrastructure. Project head Baral revealed that COVEC secured the contract for a modest sum of Rs 10.568 billion, solely dedicated to tunnel excavation within the project site.

With the completion of the dam, concerted efforts are underway to provide year-round irrigation and electricity to five districts in the Madhesh region, promising a transformative impact on agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods.

The project’s overarching goal is to enhance irrigation facilities in Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, and Dhanusha districts, augmenting food security and fostering socio-economic growth. The total project cost is estimated at Rs 49.42 billion, reflecting the government’s commitment to advancing key infrastructure initiatives for the nation’s prosperity and well-being.

The Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Multipurpose Project tunnel breakthrough represents a significant leap forward in Nepal’s infrastructure landscape, heralding a new era of sustainable development and progress.

As the nation celebrates this remarkable achievement, the project stands as a testament to Nepal’s capacity for innovation and collaboration in tackling complex challenges and realizing its development aspirations.

Fiscal Nepal |
Wednesday May 8, 2024, 01:36:05 PM |

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