China Achieves World Record in Tunneling: COVEC Excavates 1,503 Meters in One Month

Kathmandu, March 27. China has achieved a significant milestone in Nepal’s infrastructure landscape by setting a world record in tunneling for the Sunkoshi Marine River Diversion Multi-Purpose Project.

Ambassador Chan Song revealed that Overseas Engineering Group Company Limited (COVEC), a Chinese company, has accomplished a remarkable feat by tunneling 1,503 meters in just one month.

Previously, in 2023, COVEC had achieved a notable record by tunneling 1,214.13 meters within a month and averaging 72.68 meters per day during the same period, as disclosed by Song on the electronic social network X.

Designated as a project of national pride by the government, this initiative aims to provide irrigation facilities to regions including Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, and Bara through a network of 13.3 kilometers of tunnels, alongside generating 31 megawatts of electricity. Commencing on October 14, 2022, the tunneling operations for the project were initiated by COVEC, the Chinese company.

With approximately 12.3 kilometers of tunnels already completed, COVEC employs Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) technology for excavation and is expected to conclude the tunnel construction by next May, provided there are no interruptions. The dam construction on the Sunkoshi River is being undertaken as a joint venture (JV) between Nepal’s Raman Construction and India’s Patel Engineering.

An expenditure of 4 billion rupees has been incurred thus far on the Sunkoshi Marine project. The project’s estimated completion cost is projected to be around 8 billion rupees if it meets the prescribed deadline of October 2027.

Upon completion, water from the Sunkoshi River will be channeled to Marin and distributed through the Bagmati Irrigation Project, aiming to offer year-round irrigation to approximately 122,000 hectares of land.

Following the diversion to Marin, water from the Bagmati canal will be allocated to 76,600 hectares through the eastern canal and 45,400 hectares through the western canal.

Furthermore, the electricity generated by the project will be transmitted to Nawalpur via a 42-kilometer-long transmission line. The government had announced the commencement of construction in the financial year 2021/22, with a target completion date of 2027/28.