Construction work resumed earlier this month on the Sundarijal side of Melamchi Drinking Water Project in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Two Chinese companies, China Railway 15 Bureau Group and China CMIIC Engineering, were awarded the contract to construct the 26.5km long diversion tunnel connecting Melamchi River with Sundarijal in Kathmandu.

Locals stalled construction work after complaining that their houses suffered cracks due to the blasting in Mahankal of Sundarijal VDC-7. Work resumed on 17 August after a three-party meeting between local residents, Melamchi Drinking Water Project and the contractor company China 15 Railway.

According to the agreement, residents of Surya Lama and Chhiring Lama will be temporarily shifted. The project will bear all the costs of shifting and will also repair the damaged houses after completion of the tunnel. Some 96m of tunnel has so far been constructed.

The construction of the tunnel has been disrupted three times since its inauguration on 3 August 2009. The Melamchi Drinking Water project aims at bringing 170 million litres of water to the Kathmandu Valley every day. The government of Nepal contributed 20 per cent and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided 80 per cent loan assistance for the tunnel’s construction. The Melamchi project was initially scheduled for completion by 2013.