Project officials assured it’s now safe for workers to work in the dam pit 

Hydropower: Concreting works in Mangdechu hydropower project’s (MHP) dam pit from 100-108 reduced distance (RD) has resumed a month ago after the landslide that claimed five lives last month interrupted the work.

Earlier, works between RD 100-108 were to remain suspended until the landslide area located overhead was safely secured with permanent works. The works had to be discontinued for the safety of workers working below in the dam pit where five workers died when debris from the landslide buried them.

Over 30-50 workers work in the dam pit round the clock.

The works however has been able to resume much sooner than the 20 days it was likely to take. MHP managing director, A K Mishra said works were interrupted only for 10 days including the five days that was spent in retrieving the bodies of the trapped workers.

“Works resumed in the entire dam pit from August 25,” A K Mishra said, adding it is now safe for the workers to work in the dam pit with no major trouble is expected as the effect of rain gradually subsiding.

But it is going to take a while to secure the right and left abutments since the project is still working on the conceptual drawings to fix the sliding areas with permanent works.

“Safety measures and protection works shall go hand-in-hand,” A K Mishra said. He said more restoration works are planned in the slide prone areas to be implemented next month.

According to project officials, MHP with the National Hydroelectric Corporation Limited are working out the protection measures for the sliding sections.

A team from the economic affairs ministry (MoEA) also visited the mishap site following a directive from the prime minister. Earlier, economic affairs minister, Norbu Wangchuk who visited the accident site also conveyed the prime minister’s order for an investigation into the mishap.

“Thorough investigation would be done because lives have been lost so we would like to have important lessons learnt from the incident,” Norbu Wangchuk said adding that he would wait for the report first to see what further actions need to be taken.

However, the project is yet to receive the findings of the accident from the MoEA.

Meanwhile, no additional landslides were reported after August 14. The project would be able to figure out the cost of restoration works only after the finalisation of conceptual drawings, which is underway.

Tempa Wangdi