Nijgadh Airport An Unavoidable Project: Minister Bhattarai

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Kumar Bhattarai has said that much-awaited Nijgadh International Airport was an unavoidable project of the country as it was linked with the nation’s interest and development.

At a meeting of International Relations Committee under the House of Representatives held at Singha Durbar on Sunday, Minister Bhattarai expressed his commitment that construction activities of the airport would be accelerated by keeping the unsolved issues aside.

Briefing the Committee members about the current situation and impact of COVID-19 on civil aviation, he expressed the belief that Nijgadh International Airport project would be advanced with collaboration and cooperation of all concerned. He added that this was an important project linked with national interests.

The Tourism Minister opined that discussions were underway in order to forward the construction works of the airport either on public private partnership or government to government model. He also hinted at government investment if PPP or G2G model were not applicable.

Trees at 1,900 hectares of areas should be cut down for airport construction and activities are underway to count the trees, he said, adding that the affected communities are being compensated.

Minister Bhattarai further said that task of physical infrastructure construction at aviation sector during the coronavirus pandemic is continued and 95 per cent progress of Gautam Buddha International Airport has been achieved so far.

Similarly, construction works of Pokhara Regional International Airport have been accelerated to complete it within the deadline, he added.

Responding to a query, he opined that though Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) provided the responsibility of self-ground handling to Himalaya Airlines as per the Ground Handling Directives-2072. Appropriate decisions would be taken on this issue soon given its sensitivity, Bhattarai pledged.

On the occasion, most of the lawmakers drew attention of the bodies concerned including Tourism Ministry and CAAN towards the delay in the construction of Nijgadh Airport.

Committee members Madhav Kumar Nepal, Dr Bhim Bahadur Rawal, Dr Deepak Prakash Bhatta, Mohan Baniya and Shesh Chand Kumari Tara, Pushpa Bhusal, Renuka Gurung, among others expressed their views at the meeting.

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