Regular Operation of Melamchi Water Supply Project Requires Rs 4.50 Billion

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Regular Operation of Melamchi Water Supply Project Requires Rs 4.50 Billion

April 5: Stakeholders have said it will cost Rs 4.50 billion to bring the Melamchi Water Supply Project into operation throughout the year.

Speaking at an interaction related to the long-term management of the Melamchi Water Supply Project organized at Singha Durbar on Thursday, the Executive Director of Melamchi Water Supply Development Committee, Zakki Ahmed Ansari, said it would cost Rs 4.50 billion for the improvement of the project.

Preparation is underway to bring water from the Melamchi River in Helambu of Sindhupalchok district to Kathmandu Valley in all 12 months by improving the project, he shared, adding it would cost Rs 4.50 billion to construct permanent structures for long-term solution to the problems faced by the project.

Ansari mentioned that it would be appropriate to shift the headworks of the project one kilometer beyond the present intake site for long-term improvement of the project.  The water supply of the Melamchi project has been stopped after floods occurred on August 1 and 14, 2023, damaging temporary structures constructed earlier. Preparation is underway to shift the headworks for the regular operation of the project, according to the committee.

Chairperson of the Parliament's Public Accounts Committee, Rishi Pokharel, suggested forwarding the improvement plans only after carrying out a study of the cost and managing resources to make the project's activities effective.

Melamchi will not materialize until local people's demands are met

Nima Gyaljen Hyolmo, Chairman of the Helambu Rural Municipality, Sindhupalchok, said Kathmandu Valley will not be getting the supply of drinking water from Melamchi next year until the demands of the people of Helambu are met.

Speaking in the interaction program entitled 'Sustainable Management of the Melamchi Water Supply Project' organized in Singha Durbar on Thursday, he said they will not allow diverting water from the Melamchi River if their demands are not fulfilled.

Among the demands of the Melamchi Project and flood-affected people include the construction of embankments for river control, protection of at-risk settlements, and waiver of loans taken before the massive flooding incident in the Melamchi River from banks and financial institutions for construction of homes and starting business in the Melamchi corridor.

Similarly, providing compensation of Rs one million as compensation to the family of each person killed in the flooding, making available the drinking water levy through the local government, and issuing grant of Rs two million for the construction of new houses are among the demands of the 17-point charter of demands put forth by the Project and flood-affected locals.

Stating that the federal government has not shown any concern so far towards fulfilling these demands, Hyolmo, the Rural Municipality Chair, warned of shutting down of the Melamchi Project if the demands are not met.

"The demands of the local people have not been fulfilled even after our repeated request for the same. If the demands are not addressed even now, be assured, water will not be available from Melamchi next year. If you want to drink water from Melamchi, come there along with your pitchers," he said.

According to him, although the Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation is preparing to shift the project's headworks for the round-the-year supply of water through sustainable management of the project, the proposed site is also not safe.  -- RSS

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