Nikachhu project progressing well

July 15 | Kuensel
By Nim Dorji

If the progress of the 118MW Nikachhu Hydro Project is any indication, the country should think of going for smaller hydroelectric projects.

While mega projects like the Punatsangchhus are embroiled in delays, the Nikachhu project is progressing well with about 38 percent of the work already completed as of June.

The Deputy Managing Director of the project, Sujan Rai said that they are pushing hard and experiencing a good progress in every area of the project.

Progress on the dam and powerhouse excavation works reached 44 and 33 percent respectively. About 45 percent of the headrace tunnel is also completed.

Construction of the project began in August 2016.The DMD said that work at the dam had to be carried out in segments because of lack of rock. Hard rock is necessary for the construction of the dam, but because of poor geo-logical area, the work was to be done in segments. “However, at the elevation level we encountered hard rock. Mass concreting has started with height of 1.5 meters which is actually planned in the lean period,” he said.

Nikachhu however is also delayed by a year. The project was to be completed by April 2020. The delay according to the DMD was caused because of geological surprise and the hindrances passed by bad roads and weather conditions.

The project is now scheduled to complete by April 20, 2021 if no further geological surprise is encountered.

The DMD said that to complete the project on time, the management made micro planning where targets are set every month and then singed between the management and the contractors. “It (agreement) is strictly monitored where the workers are paid as per the target achievements,” he added.

Nikachhu Hydro power project is a 100 percent subsidiary company of Druk Green Power Corporation (DGPC). It is being built at a cost of Nu 11.96 billion.

Of the total cost 60.8 percent was from Asian Development Bank and 29.68 percent from Commercial Bank of India and 9.52 percent from DGPC.

The first package of the project, which is the civil and hydro mechanical work, was given to Hindustan Company and electro mechanical work is done by the Boits Hydro Limited, India.

The project is managed by Bhutanese and the contractors had also deployed many Bhutanese workers. In one of the Adit, all the workers are Bhutanese.

The DMD said that the main challenges of the project are difficulty in bringing the peace rate workers (PRW) from India. “Given the location of the project, PRW do not stay long making us bring continuous replacement.”

The community near the project is cooperative and supportive, according to the project management.

One of the unique feature of the Nikachhu Hydro power Project is that once it is completed, the water from the tail race tunnel will be connected to the Dam of MHPA, which will give additional power generation for MHPA during the lean season.

The power generation of 118 MW of Nikachhu Hydro power project will be exported to the Power Trading Corporation of India.

About 44 percent of the dam excavation work is complete
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