Chinese companies interested in drinking water project in Nepal

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Kathmandu, May 8 (UNI) Four Chinese companies have bid for construction of the 26.5 km diversion tunnel of the Melamchi Water Supply Project that will provide drinking water to Kathmandu, media reports said here today.

The companies vying for the project are China International Water and Electric Corp, China Overseas Engineering Company, Trans Tech Engineering China and China Railway 15 Bureau, Kantipur quoted a senior officials at the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board as saying.

"We expect that the bidding process will be completed by mid-July," the paper quoted Purna Kadariya, Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works as saying.

He also informed that work at the project site is in progress and hoped construction would pick up momentum in the days to come as disputes with the local communities have been resolved.

So far 16 per cent of work of the whole project has been completed and Rs 4.6 billion spent.

Hari Ram Koirala, Executive Director of the Board, informed that they have taken several cost-saving measures. "Earlier we were spending Rs 275,000 for office rent while at present we are paying only Rs 75,000," he said.

The total project cost is 317.3 million dollars with the tunnel and head works costing 96.5 million dollars said Mr Koirala.

The project, which began in December 2001, is expected to be complete by December 2013.

Earlier in February, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) extended a loan of 137 million dollars (around nine billion rupees) for until 2013.

The ADB is the lead financier of the project. Other donors are the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Nordic Development Fund and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development. The Government of Nepal is contributing 90.6 million dollars.

With the population in Kathmandu Valley increasing rapidly, demand for water in the Valley is 200 million liters a day at present, according to the Melamchi board. But the existing system can supply only 90 million liters a day in winter and 130 million liters in the monsoon.

The project will supply 170 million liters of water a day to Kathmandu Valley after completion of the first phase.

UNI XC NC DS1245

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