Accelerated measures for dam concreting will ensure project’s completion 18 months ahead of previous deadline

Hydropower: The Punatsangchhu Hydropower Project Authority II is deploying accelerated measures for dam concreting to retrieve 18 months of time, and complete by June 2018.

The new deadline is one and half years ahead of the last deadline of December 2019, which was set last year following geological surprises.

The project’s managing director, RN Khazanchi said that while the rest of the components of the project will be completed before June 2018, the dam construction will take about 18 months.

To complete the dam construction along with other project components, the project has to recover at least 18 months for dam construction.

RN Khazanchi said acceleration measures are being implemented. To achieve a faster rate of placement of concrete, he said procurement of specialised equipment like telebelts and associated equipment have begun.

The acceleration measures were approved by both the governments of India and Bhutan.

Concreting of the dam’s foundation started in April, last year, and is nearing completion. “Within 15 days the main dam concreting would be started,” he said.

The managing director said initially when the project’s construction commenced, the powerhouse was suppose to be first critical component, but due to geological surprises, the dam has become the most critical component.

“Neither the investigation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR), nor the investigation at the pre-construction or construction stage has revealed what we actually encountered while excavating,” he said.

While the collapse of the downstream surge chamber of the powerhouse had little impact on the project, the bodies of three men are yet to be recovered.

Six men were buried in the downstream surge chamber after a portion of its ceiling collapsed on March 3

The managing director said the place where the mishap took place was only the fourth critical component, which is not a deterrent factor for time overrun.

However, the restoration of that chamber will result in an additional cost of around Nu 500 million to Nu 750 million.

The project’s design experts visited the site three times, but they are yet to develop proposals. A technical coordination meeting is scheduled for June 9-10 to discuss and finalise the restoration proposal.

“Since we will be doing restoration work in parallel with works on the main project, it is possible to complete the entire project within same time frame of June 2018,” said the managing director.

As for the men buried in the chamber, the insurance compensation for three of the deceased whose bodies were recovered was paid to their families.

The families of other three are yet to receive compensation because insurance companies require death certificates issued after bodies have been examined or after a certain time has elapsed.

The 1,020MW project was started in December 2010 and is expected to generate 4,357 million units of electricity on an average every year.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue