MD assures the problem would not hamper the project’s deadline

Update: One more body was recovered yesterday two weeks after the downstream surge chamber of powerhouse at Punatshangchhu-II collapsed on March 3.

Six people were trapped inside the chamber when loose soil and boulders fell on the workers locking the exit. While people are working round the clock to clear the muck, four bodies are yet to be recovered.

The body of the boomer operator was found on the same day of the accident.

Project officials said that falling of muck and boulders hasn’t stopped completely but the magnitude has reduced. “We are hoping to recover the remaining four bodies soon,” said an official.

The project’s Managing Director, R N Khazanchi said unless they recover all the remaining bodies, it would be difficult to comment on what sort of remedial measures are required. “We have experts coming, but our priority is to recover all the bodies,” he said.

Three experts from Delhi visited the site after the incident, including the chairman of Indian Centre for Water Commission.

This was first major accident the PHPA-II faced since it was started in 2011.

However, RN Khazanchi said that this problem will not delay the completion of the project.

This, he said, was because the project has many components with different completion dates. Of all the components, dam construction, which is considered the most critical, takes the longest time. After tunnel and powerhouse, the downstream surge chamber is the fourth critical component.

“The chamber might take two to three more months to complete and might involve some additional cost, but it will not be in billions,” he said.

The surge chamber measures 340 metres long. The block is estimated to be around 34 metres high and 18 metres wide in size.

Dawa Gyelmo, Wangdue