Budget for proper management of Pokhara Airport will be guaranteed: PM Deuba
October 11, 2021 05:30 PM NPT
POKHARA, Oct 11: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has inspected the Pokhara Regional International Airport which is currently under construction. During the inspection, PM Deuba was informed about the problems faced in the construction process.
According to Binesh Munkarmi, Chief of the Airport Construction Project, 85 percent of the work has already been completed. He said that the problems of cutting the Rithepani hill in the approach of the airport, an alternative arrangement of the landfill site and management of the floodplain entering the airport area every year should be solved to make the operation of the airport easier.
“There is no other alternative but to flatten the hill six months before the airport is brought into operation but the process couldn't move forward as the ‘Environment Impact Assessment’ (EIA) has yet to be done,” Chief Munkarmi said. He clarified that the airport will not be able to come into operation unless the Rittepani hill is removed. He said that the work of EIA and removing the hill should be done side by side.
Stating that the floodplains have entered the airport during the rainy season, he said that this could create obstructions in the operation of the airport. A budget of Rs 640 million is needed to manage the problem, Munkarmi said.
Furthermore, Project Chief Munankarmi said that there is a growing fear that the operation of the airport will be affected if an alternative landfill site is not identified. As the current landfill site is just two kilometers away from the airport, there is a need to relocate it as well. The landfill site has to be relocated six months before the airport is brought into operation. Stating that it will take time for the birds to change their habitat and fly route, the landfill site needs to be relocated immediately. Although it is the job of the metropolis to look for an alternative landfill site, the work has not started yet.
Responding to the information given by Chief Munkarmi, PM Deuba said that the work of removing Rittepani hill will start soon. “The work of removing the hill will have to be done immediately to stop any possible effects it could have during the operation of the airport,” PM Deuba said. The airport is being constructed by a Chinese company called the CAMC Engineering Company with an investment of Rs 22 billion. The construction is scheduled to finish by 10th of July 2022.
Although the agreement to complete the airport was by 10th July of 2021, the deadline was extended for a year after the construction work was halted due to the sudden surge of the COVID-19 pandemic