Tunnel breakthrough achieved in Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Multi-purpose Project

SINDHULI: There has been a breakthrough in the construction of the tunnel at the Sunkoshi-Marin Diversion Multi-purpose Project.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ conducted the ‘breakthrough’ amidst a programme at Kanadhungri, Sunkoshi rural municipality-7 today.

After the PM pressed on the TBM switch, the TBM machine that had entered the tunnel from Kusumtar of Kamalamai municipality-2 for digging the tunnel exited from the tunnel from the other side at Kanadhungri on the bank of the Sunkoshi river.

The tunnel stretches from Kusumtar, Kamalamai Municipality-2 to Kanadhungri of Sunkoshi-7. It is 13.3 kilometres long.

Project Chief Mitra Baral said they have been successful to accomplish the breakthrough a year ahead of the target. The breakthrough of the tunnel has been achieved in 19 months of the start of digging of the tunnel.

According to Baral, the tunnel was dug up to 72 metres in a single day. The works of digging the tunnel had started on October 14, 2022. However, the work on digging up the tunnel was disrupted six times since then. The works were stalled as the TBM machine could not dig the tunnel further up due to the dry landslide and mudslide inside the tunnel.

The tunnel has a diameter of 5.5 metres and a quality segment has been used for building the tunnel with the help of high technology. A 30 metres high and 158 metres long dam would be constructed across the Sunkoshi river at Kanadhungri and the water from the dam channeled through the tunnel to Marinkhola stream at Kusumtar.

At Kusumtar, the water would be dropped through penstock pipe from a height of 66 metres to generate 31.07 megawatts of electricity.

The Chinese construction company, China Overseas Engineering has got the contract for the construction of the tunnel. This company has carried out tunnel construction work of the Bheri Babai Diversion Project before this.

Project Chief Baral informed that COVEC was awarded the contract worth Rs 10 billion 50 million and 680 thousand for digging the tunnel alone.

The Project aims to provide irrigation water and produce electricity for the five districts of the Madhes throughout the year.

Along with power generation, the main objective of the project is to provide irrigation facilities on 122 thousand hectares of land in Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari and Dhanusha districts of Terai by using the infrastructure of Bagmati irrigation project.

According to the project, the total cost of the project is Rs 49.42 billion.

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