Concreting of dam foundation begins

Hydropower: Marking another milestone for the now the fastest hydropower construction in the country, Mangdechu project yesterday symbolically began concreting the foundation of the dam, bringing an end to river excavation work.

In concreting the foundation of the dam, which will block the Mangdechu and divert it through the tunnels,  chief engineer, Karma Chophel, said about 0.45 million cubic metres or 80,460 truckloads of cement would be poured to build the dam, a piece of good news for market-less Dungsam cement.

“Concreting the dam foundation basically means completion of 50 percent of the dam construction,” Karma Chophel said.  This is because works on the dam starts with excavation of the riverbed, which is not complete.

Mangdechu project’s managing director, AK Mishra, said that the foundation concreting of Mangdechu dam marked an important milestone for the project.

“This is an important milestone, because now the project would focus fully on concreting,” he said, adding that the project was aiming to achieve concreting at the earliest.

The project is targeting to achieve, on an average 20,000-25,000 cubic metres of concreting in a month.  In a year, the project is expected to complete 0.25 million cubic metres of concreting.  The dam, when complete, will measure 141 metres tall and 10 metres wide.

“Theoretically speaking, the whole dam will be concreted in two years’ time but it won’t happen in couple of years because inter-phase of hydro mechanical will also go along simultaneously,” the managing director said.

It will however be done in two and half years, he said.

Hereafter, the project will work on optimising on getting the works done at the earliest.  Elevating of the dam to the crest after concreting of the riverbed will be the next step for the project.  Then erection of the gate structures will be planned after the attaining the dam to the crest.

“The objective of the project now is to expedite the work progress,” AK Mishra said.

Works and human settlement minister, Dorji Choden, the chief guest for the inaugural ceremony of the dam foundation concreting, said that concreting of dam was a commendable yardstick of progress for the project.

“After visiting and observing the project areas, progress of Mangdechu project has reached a stage where uncertainties will be minimal,” Dorji Choden said.

The minister also commended the project for employing a considerable number of Bhutanese engineers, and offering private sector and local population participation.

“Hydropower in Bhutan is important, not only for electricity, but expectations are high on other aspects, like economic benefits, such as employment and market,” Dorji Choden said.

The project’s plan to procure cement from Dungsam Cement Project is also a good move that will go a long way in boosting the economy, lyonpo said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for dam foundation concreting was graced by economic affairs minister, Norbu Wangchuk, deputy chief of mission, Indian Embassy, Bishwadip Dey, and Druk Green Power corporation managing director, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, amongst other officials.

So far, the project reported physical progress of 56.48 percent as of March 31.

By Tempa Wangdi, Trongsa