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KATHMANDU: The landslide triggered by incessant rainfall last week has caused damage worth more than one billion rupees to the Melamchi Water Supply Project structures.
Other structures of the project except for the main structures – the tunnel and headwork – have been damaged while the shelters for the project staff and the construction materials have been washed away.
The project technicians have not been able to reach Ambathan to date, Project Information Officer Rajendra Prasad Panta said. Although a team of the project including the Divisional Engineer had set out for Ambathan on Tuesday to make an assessment of the damage, it has not been able to reach there.
It is difficult to reach Ambathan as a bridge over the Melamchi River and the road to Ambathan has been swept away.
“According to preliminary estimates, the rest of the structures except the tunnel and headwork have suffered much damage,” Panta said. He added that sand, aggregates, and other construction materials kept at the construction site as well as the storage structure have all been washed away by the flooded Melamchi stream.
The accommodation camp set up for the residential workers at the construction site, water supply structure and toilet at the camp were swept away. The flooded rivulet also swept away the equipment of the construction entrepreneurs.
Project Information Officer Panta said the physical damage and the financial loss due to this apart, it will take more time to clear up the site of the debris deposited by the landslide and flood. “We have not been able to guess how long it will take to clear up the debris and carry out the repair and maintenance works,” he said.
Spokesperson Panta said it was going to be difficult to carry out works at the construction site as the flood has swept away the road and the bridge.
According to him, the Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation is facilitating the repair works and the remaining works of the project. He shared that a Bailey bridge could be immediately installed and the repair and maintenance works started at the project site if the Prime Minister’s Office directed the bodies concerned for the same.
The project is making initiatives for re-opening the road in coordination with the local bodies and local level wards there.
Although the main structures have not been damaged, sand, silt, and pebbles have been deposited in the audit tunnel at Ambathan, and this needs to be removed immediately.
Panta stressed that first, it was necessary to repair the approach road in order to carry out a trial of the tunnel. As he said, the approach road and the bridge have to be constructed to clear up the project’s audit tunnel that has been blocked by the debris.
“We have been consulting with the Army and the Department of Roads regarding the construction of the bridge and the road,” Panta added.
According to him, how long it will take to supply water from Melamchi to Kathmandu depends on the extent of the damage caused to the headwork and the duration it takes to repair it. He estimated that it will take two to two and half months for this.
Panta shared that the damage to the project structures has definitely prolonged the project completion time since the project was not completed and works to that end were in progress.