Kathmandu, Sept. 30: The Melamchi Water Supply Development Board Tuesday awarded the contract of tunnel finishing works of the Melamchi Water Supply Project to Sinohydro, a Chinese contractor that recently concluded the civil engineering tasks at the Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Project. The board has signed two agreements to finish the tunnel. There will be another agreement for the construction of the head work in a few days. Executive Director of the MWSDB Tiresh Khatri and Sinohydro’s representative Wang Hua signed the agreement. MWSDB has given the responsibility to complete the remaining works of the project after about nine months since the Italian contractor CMC abandoned the project without informing the board and fled the country. Some months were passed in an effort to persuade the CMC to resume the work at the site while some were spent in estimating the cost of the remaining works, preparing the tender and resolving the issues with the sub-contractors and local vendors who supplied the construction materials and heavy equipment. According to the board, the contractor should start the work within a month from the signing of the agreement. Since Sinohydro has recently completed the civil works at the Tamakoshi, it has its equipment ready for the work. Sinohydro should finish the tunnel within a year while the head work should be completed in 15 months. Headwork construction, tunnel finishing, fitting the ventilation shaft, hydro-mechanical gates and monitoring equipment are yet to be executed. The MWSDB – implementing agency of the water transmission part of the project – had terminated the contract with the CMC after the latter failed to respond to the board’s communication efforts. The national pride project has achieved about 90 per cent progress after 17 years of its implementation. The project is delayed by a decade. According to the latest timeline prepared by the project, it will not be completed before 2021.