MATARDI, Oct 28: A number of passengers have been stranded at the Kolti Airport, Bajura, for a week now. The passengers who are from Bajura, Mugu and Humla have complained that they have not been able to find air tickets for a week.
Local journalist Dhan Bahadur Bohara said that hundreds of passengers were stranded at the Kolti Airport due to the non-availability of tickets for flights from Kolti to Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi. Bohara added that the residents of neighboring districts including Bajura have been waiting for the flights. Although Summit and Tara Airlines have been flying from and to Kolti, passengers have not been able to get tickets due to high demand for air tickets.
Khum Bahadur Rawat of Humla said that more than 600 passengers have been waiting for air tickets in Kolti for a week after the Karnali Highway and Martadi-Kolti road were blocked. Although Summit and Tara Airlines operate a flight a day each, the passenger pressure has increased significantly. According to Kolti Airport, the services provided by the airport have not been regular for the past one week due to an excessive number of passengers.
Even the sick and helpless are stranded as they are not able to get flight tickets. Acting Chief District Officer Sameer Bhandari said that the pressure of passengers was high in Kolti and they were not able to manage that.
Arbitrary ticket prices
Complaints of arbitrary fares for the flights to and from the Kolti Airport are on the rise. The passengers have complained that they have been charged higher fares for the flights from Kolti to Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi.
Even though the fare from Kolti to Nepalgunj has been fixed at Rs 5,500, private airlines are charging arbitrary fares, according to the passengers. It has been found that more than Rs 8,000 is taken for one ticket.
According to Shrikrishna Rimal, office chief of Kolti Airport, Summit and Tara Air have been operating one flight each a day. However, Sita Airlines has not flown even a single flight and Nepal Airlines Corporation has operated only three flights since October 18. The airport has stated that the reduction of flights by airlines has become a bigger problem than in the past.
Tekendra Kathayat, the operator of Badi Malika Cargo, said that regular flights could not take off despite the pressure of hundreds of passengers. Acting CDO Bhandari said that action would be taken if the airlines were found to have overcharged the passengers.