Gautam Buddha Regional International Airport

PAC to organize a public hearing in Bhairahawa on August 21

Published On: August 13, 2017 07:47 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 12: Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is going to organize public hearing focusing on the chronic problem that has marred the Gautam Buddha Regional International Airport project. 

All the stakeholders will be invited at the same venue in Bhairahawa on August 21 to discuss issues and sort out problems including disputes between Chinese contractor and local subcontractors, said PAC officials. 

All the local contractors have halted works since March over the issue of payment with the project contractor, China's Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group. The Group has also not added work-force and equipments to meet the July 2018 project completion date, as suggested by the government. 

PAC's Secretary Surendra Aryal informed that the committee chose the project because it exemplifies delays in implementation of several other national pride projects in the country. “The hearing is organized with a hope to sort out issues that have been obstructing the project's progress,” Aryal said. 

The 6.55 billion rupee project is expected to provide an alternative airport to Tribhuwan International Airport. But due to disputes between local and the main contractor, and other issues, its construction has progressed only 30 percent so far. 

Project's Manager Om Sharma informed that the Chinese contractor has mobilized only about 100 laborers at the site despite government's direction to mobilize additional workforce. 

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Jitendra Narayan Dev has given one-month ultimatum to the Chinese contractor for accelerating the project construction activities after holding discussion with the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Yu Hong recently. 

Speaking at a PAC meeting on Wednesday, Dev said he has asked the contractor to resolve disputes and resume the construction in full scale within a month. “We will have no option other than to terminate the contract if the contractor does not starts works in full capacity within a month,” Dev informed the committee.       

Both, the government and the Asian Development Bank, financing partner of the project, have made several attempts to sort out issues obstructing the projects completion since March but no progress has been made so far in that direction. 

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