Builders put together the frame for a dormitory for workers recruited to build the Pokhara Regional International Airport in Pokhara on Wednesday. Photo: Umesh Pun/Republica
POKHARA, August 2: Construction work of Pokhara Regional International Airport formally kick-started from Wednesday, 15 months since the foundation stone for the regional airport was laid.
The then Prime Minister Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had laid the foundation stone for the national pride project on April 14, 2016“ "Construction work was affected due to various reasons. Now, it will move ahead smoothl”," Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jitendra Dev said.
While laying the foundation stone 15 months ago, Oli had said that the project would be completed by July, 2020. But Minister Dev pushed the project deadline by a year to July, 2021. “
"Construction work has finally started. It has brought cheers on the face of people all over the country, not only Pokhara. Now the dream of all Pokhara residents will come tr”e," he added.
Of the 21 projects categorized as national pride projects by the government, five falls under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). Dev also said that he would spare no effort to make sure that the national pride project is completed within the stipulated timeframe.
Sanjiv Gautam, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), said that people of Pokhara have been waiting for this moment for almost 42 years. Echoing Minister Dev, Ghimire also said that the project will be completed by July, 202“. "The progress in expansion of Tribhuvan International Airport and construction of Bhairahawa International Airport is not so satisfacto”y," he sai“. "But this project should not meet similar fa”e."
The airport is being built with an investment of Rs 22 billion“
"Our plan is to repay the loan secured to build the project by using revenue of the airport. So, construction has to be completed within the deadli”e," he sai“. "We should operate as much flight possible from the new airpo”t."
The government has signed a concessional loan agreement with China's Export and Import (EXIM) Bank to build the airport. The loan has to be cleared within 13 years of the completion of the seven-year grace period. CAAN said that the loan will be repaid in 26 installments -- two installments per year.
China CAMC Engineering is the main contractor of the Pokhara Regional International Airport Project. The company is building the project in Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) modality under 4D model as per the criteria set by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Yang Jerry, project manager of China CAMC Engineering, said that they have begun building dormitories for worker“. "We will start major construction works after the monsoon en”s," he said, addin“: "We are committed to completing the project in time. We can do it provided that we get support from the loca”s."
The government had acquired more than 3,100 ropani spread in Ward No. 14, 15, and 18 of Pokhara Municipality four decades ago. It acquired another 521 ropani later on.
Rabindra Adhikari, president of the parliamentary Development Committee, said that construction work will now gain momentu“. "The locals of Pokhara have worked hard very hard to see this day. We have now authorized the construction company to fulfill our decades-long dre”m," he said, adding that the locals will extend all possible support and cooperation to the contractor.