Dechen Dolkar 

With 95.42 percent of the project completed as of July 31, the 1,020MW Punatsangchhu-II Hydroelectric Project Authority (PHPA) is expected to commission by October next year. 

There are six units 170MW each.

The project has completed the civil and hydromechanical works which include dam complex (desilting chambers, silt flushing tunnel) including the installation and testing of Hydro-mechanical components such as seven radial gates, three intake gates with gantry and hoisting system, silt-flushing gates, and gates of desilting chambers. 

The project has also completed the plugging of diversion tunnel, headrace tunnel (8.5 km) including the erection of Adit gates; surge shaft including the gantry hoisting arrangement and Surge Shaft gates; butterfly valve chamber including the erection of 3 Butterfly Valves; the main tailrace tunnel including the erection of TRT outlet gate and the pothead yard (Switch Yard).

The power house downstream surge chamber, where a portion of the tunnel collapsed in 2016, is yet to complete.

The Managing Director (MD) of PHPA-ll, Rajesh Kumar Chandel, said that work at the two units are on track to be commissioned by October 2024, and the remaining units by the end of the year.

Once commissioned, PHPA–II will generate 4,357 million units of electricity annually.

The authority has about 763 employees as of July 31 and around 2,944 workers in the project.

The MD said that the optimum requirement of the employees will be related to the balance of works in hand (Civil & Electro-mechanical) and Operation & Maintenance after completion and commercial operation of the project in order to ensure commissioning of the project within the approved cost. 

Rajesh Kumar Chandel said that the project is working on it on rationalization of employees since it is nearing completion.

However, it was learned that the authority has notified that as work in several components of the project has been completed now, it has become necessary that only requisite employees are given an extension of the contract while the contracts of other employees are terminated. 

The authority has solicited voluntary resignation from employees of lower levels. However, the project has extended the contract for a higher level categories.

The last date for applying for voluntary resignation is September 15.

Contract employees who have not applied for voluntary resignation by September 15, 2023 will not be eligible for three months’ salary. 

The project will pay three months’ gross salary for October, November, and December besides gratuity, and transfer grant for those voluntary resignations. They will be relieved by September end. 

The project has also announced auctioning for the sale of BG vehicles. 

The project has spent Nu 81.03 billion (B) and the total project estimated cost is Nu 94.45B.

The PHPA-II is being implemented jointly by the government and the Government of India. The foundation stone of the Project was jointly laid by the then Prime Minister of Bhutan and the External Affairs Minister of India in 2010.