Kholongchu to start road constructions this month

Road: Works on the 660MW Kholongchu hydropower project (KHP) will begin with the construction of roads within a month’s time, officials confirmed.

Economic affairs minister, Norbu Wangchuk formally handed over the certificate of incorporation to the managing directors of DGPC and SJVN on July 3. This means that KHP is now registered under the Company’s Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2000.

Project Manager of KHP, DK Khandal said the registration of the company got delayed while the registration certificate was initially issued on June 12.

“With the formal registration of KHP recently, it would not take long for the Bhutan Electricity Authority to issue us the construction license,” he said. “We expect the license to be issued this week and the project can move ahead.”

The evaluation of tenders for road constructions is also completed. Once the works are awarded, construction of about 40km project roads will commence.  The construction has been divided into five packages.  Four roads, stretching a total of 8.4km, would be constructed under package I.

Three roads (10.7km) would be constructed under package II, and two roads (11km) under package III, while six roads (5.09km) are under package IV and two roads (5.05km) in package V. The overall cost for the road construction is estimated at Nu 689M (million) and it will take about a year to complete.

Construction of the components of the projects would begin after the roads are connected to the sites.

“The new managing director (MD) from Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) is already at the site and the management would come in place soon,” DK Khandal said. “The directors for finance and technical would be appointed by our Indian counter part and the joint MD would be appointed by DGPC.”

After the management is formed, the project would also be able to decide on whether it will go with the idea of having one of their housing colonies integrated with the upcoming Khetsang town, or rent houses there to be used as staff quarters.

The project, with support from Trashiyangtse dzongkhag administration, has already completed surveying substitute land for those landowners who would be affected by the road construction. Cash compensation would be provided to those who opt for it instead of substitute land.

KHP is the first joint venture between Bhutan and India. The project will commission in 77 months, including 18 months of pre-construction activities, at an estimated cost of Nu 38.689B at June 2013 price level.  On completion, it’s expected to generate 2,568M units of electricity annually.

By Tshering Wangdi, Trashigang

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