For some time now reports in the Indian and Local media combined with rumors led to speculation that funds have slowed down for the ongoing three projects of Punatsangchu 1, Punatsangchu 2 and Mangdechu leading to delay in works.
However, project authorities for the three projects dismissed these reports and have in fact said some projects will be completed before time at the current speed.
Project officials have also said that they have been getting the money that they have asked for from New Delhi on time.
Mangdechu Project Managing Director A.K Mishra said, “We have been getting whatever funds we are demanding from the government of India. Of the Nu 3.15bn we asked for the April 2012 to April 2013 budget we have received Nu 1.60bn and we will be getting the rest by December 2012 and February 2013. There is no fund crunch.”
This was a similar view echoed by the Punatsangchu Hydroelectric Project Authority Managing Director R. Khazanchi who also said that fund flow for both Punatsangchu I and II were smooth.
“For P-I our budget for 2012 April to 2013 April is Nu 10.5bn of which we have received Nu 4.72bn and we do not expect any trouble in getting the balance amount,” said Khazanchi.
He said that for P-II of the budgeted amount of Nu 6.80bn for the financial year the project had already received Nu 4.15bn with only Nu 2.64bn to be received.
Both project MD’s explained that since the Indian financial year is from the April 2012 to April 2013 the August-September 2012 is used to re-estimate and correct the budget and also project the budget for April 2013 to April 2014.
Khazanchi said, “When we work we don’t pay on the same day. Except for salaries there is always a month or two’s gap for payment of Bills. For us there are no problems about money till December 2012 and January 2013 with the current funds.”
He said that the apprehension may have been caused due to two reasons. One was that when 10,000 MW was announced in 2008 the funds given for the projects in 2008, 2009 and 2010 was more than required or requested. As a result there was spillover of funds and so payments were released early.
He said that the second reason could be due to the fact that the Joint Venture projects between Indian PSUs and Druk Green Power Corporation would have to raise their own funds for their projects. “For the Inter-governmental projects I do not find any difficulty so far.”
The Mangdechu project in total is estimated to cost around Nu 38bn at completion. P-I is estimated to cost Nu 90 to 95bn and P-II is estimated to cost Nu 75bn on completion.
Construction on schedule
With payment coming on time the construction work for the three projects are on schedule with some expected to complete before schedule according to the two MDs.
A.K Mishra said that though the official deadline for the Mangdechu project was September 2017 he would have the project commissioned a month before the deadline.
The three key constituents of any project is the Dam to stop the water, the Head Race Tunnel to divert the water and an underground power house where the water turns the turbines to generate electricity.
The ground breaking ceremony for Mangdechu was on 18 May, 2012. The MD said that significant progress had been achieved since then and both the Dam package and the Head Race Tunnel were ahead of schedule.
He said work was going on smoothly on the diversion tunnel for diverting river water away from the dam site. He said that for the main HRT tunnel work had already started on desilting chambers and tailgate approach. He said five access points had been built to excavate the HRT tunnel.
140 meters of ventilation tunnel has been constructed and more than 70 meters of access tunnel for the power house have been built.
Work for building the two 400 KV transmission lines had been awarded to the lowest bidder Kalpturu Company for Nu 5.49bn.
He also said an important Bailey bridge had been built downstream.
P-I started on 11 November, 2008 and its completion date is scheduled in November in 2016. Khazanchi said of the three key components the HRT tunnel would be completed one and a half years ahead of schedule and the power house complex along with the machines and its dry testing would be complete six months before schedule. Khazanchi said that the only component that would take time till the completion date would be the dam.
P-II started in December 2010 and has a completion date of 2017 or seven years. However, a confident Khazanchi said that the project would be completed six months ahead of schedule by June 2017. He said that currently initial works on all three critical components were ahead of schedule.
He said that so far a highway bypass of 1.5 km underground tunnel had been built as Bhutan’s first underground tunnel highway. He said that the river diversion would happen by April 2013 through the diversion tunnel.
The P-I project is 60% loan and 40% grant while the P-II and Mangdechu project is 70% loan and 30% grant. The loan is at a 10% simple interest.