Hydropower equipment worth millions believed to be lost

Update: Construction materials worth Nu 500 million for hydropower projects that were stored at Bangay Bazaar in Phuentsholing have either been submerged or washed away by the recent flood.

Gautam Sutradhar, construction manager with BHEL (for Punatsangchhu I and Punatsangchhu II) said that equipment that belonged to Punatsangchhu I, Punatsangchhu II, and Mangdechhu hydropower projects have been affected by the flood.

“We believe that some are under the water,” said Gautam Sutradhar, adding that many boxes that had turbine hardwares made of iron were missing.

BHEL is currently engaged in retrieving the submerged equipment. With no rainfall yesterday, BHEL was able to dig out a few equipment from under the wet sand. 

According to BHEL findings, equipment worth more than Nu 1 billion are at stake.  Also at stake are equipment worth Nu 500 million for Punatsangchhu II and equipment worth Nu 100 million for Punatsangchhu I.

However, these are only approximate figures. Equipment that were submerged could be still retrieved and used, said Gautam Sutradhar. “We may be able to find and retrieve certain percentage of the equipment.”

If the equipment cannot be found, BHEL will have to bear the losses, added Gautam Sutradhar. What is important is the time within which the materials should be shipped to the project sites.

However, Gautam Sutradhar assured that projects will not be delayed due to this mishap because the equipment lost are those that are used during the later stages of the hydropower construction. “They can be replaced.”

Kamji block, in the meanwhile

Construction of a double-double bailey bridge at 22.5km point towards Kamji could not be completed yesterday.

This is the fifth day Thimphu-Phuentsholing highway has remained blocked.

However, the alternative route from Pasakha was opened to traffic yesterday.  Hundreds of vehicles were allowed to ply. Traffic was monitored and controlled at points so that there were no jams.

Phuentsholing did not get heavy rainfall yesterday, allowing flood protection work at both Amochhu and Omchhu to progress.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing 

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