As per the earlier decision to provide update on the progress of the tunnel construction activity to general public in the first week of each Nepali month, the board issued the statement saying that the contractor’s work is found satisfactory. Of the total 27.5km diversion tunnel being constructed to supply 170M litres of water per day to the Kathmandu valley by April 2016, a 6.85km section has been completed till date.

According to Ghanasyam Bhattarai, deputy executive director of the project, construction of a waste water treatment plant and social empowerment activities in the affected communities, besides the diversion tunnel, are also being carried out as a part of the project.

The Italian contractor was appointed last year after the government terminated the contract with the China Railway 15 Bureau Group Corporation and China Machinery Industry Construction Group on 25 September 2012 due to their failure to carry out the work. The Chinese contractors constructed only 6.5km of the tunnel in three years or so.

The work was halted after the government terminated the contract with the Chinese contractors in November 2012. The board then decided to award the contract to the CMC for NPR 7.72bn (USD 79M). The government has allocated NPR 5.24bn (USD 53.5M) for the project this year.

In another development, police rescued five workers on 14 March who were trapped in Melamchi water project’s pipeline tunnel in Sundarijal, a village development committee in Kathmandu District in the Bagmati Zone of central Nepal.

The workers were trapped in the pipeline tunnel after all the lights underground went off due to an electrical short circuit.

The trapped workers were rescued nearly one and a half hours later. No casualties were reported.