Airport management losing millions in revenue
KATHMANDU, April 26: Shop owners at Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) are refusing to vacate their spaces, citing cases pending in different courts.
As many as 24 cases have been filed against the TIA in different courts, demanding that contracts to lease out spaces in the country's international airport be renewed automatically. Stall operators moved the court after an amendment to Airport Service Charge Regulations made it mandatory for the TIA to lease out spaces through bidding after the contract term of three year ends.
But stall owners have challenged the new provision in the court. Though the Kathmandu District Court and Patan High Court have given verdict in favor of the TIA in some cases, the airport management has not been able to invite tenders as many cases are still pending.
According to TIA officials, five cases are pending in Supreme Court, 15 in Patan High Court, and four in Kathmandu District Court. Some of the cases date back to 2014.
Because of these pending cases, the TIA has not been able to invite tender for spaces even though it has already been two and half years since the three-year contract signed with some stall owners expired. This legal complexity has benefited stall operators, while the TIA is losing millions of rupees in revenue.
TIA Spokesperson Prem Nath Thakur said that TIA has been losing a huge amount of revenue because of the legal complexities“ "The new regulation prevents us from renewing contract, and we cannot invite tender to lease out spaces until the cases pending in courts are settle”," added Thakur.
In a recent tender for a space measuring 10 sq ft, TIA received the highest bid of Rs 31 million for three years, surprising many officials. None of the existing contracts are worth one million rupees. “
"I cannot exactly calculate the amount that we can earn by leasing out spaces. But I can say that the amount is very hi”h," added Thakur.
TIA officials also informed that few stall owners have not paid rent, saying that they were awaiting court verdicts.
TIA has rented out spaces in the airport terminal to over three dozen companies for providing different services. Except few, contract of all the spaces has already expired.
These spaces have been used to operate cafes, restaurants, curio shops and ATM kiosks, among others.