JUMLA, Aug 4: The air passengers in Jumla are in dismay after air service could not be regulated between Jumla and the province capital, Surkhet.
With the lack of such a service, air passengers are forced to travel to Nepalgunj in order to travel back to Surkhet. Locals of Jumla have expressed their aggression towards the province government for not being able to connect Jumla and Surkhet through an air route.
Laxman Shahi, a local from Jumla, said that it is very unfortunate that the air route has not been started even though the circumstances are convenient for the commencement of such flight route. “With the inception of federalism, Surkhet was named the capital of the province,” Shahi said, “Now, the residents of Jumla are in dismay due to the lack of means of transportation.”
The entire Karnali Highway which connects Jumla to Surkhet is unusable due to heavy rainfall and landslides. Since the locals need to go to the province capital for various works, the only means of reaching Surkhet during monsoon is through air. It costs Rs 5,414 to travel to Nepalgunj from Jumla and Rs 5,314 to travel from Nepalgunj to Surkhet by air. Even though it would cost very less for a direct flight from Jumla to Surkhet, flights on this air route have not been started.
Air service companies had previously opted out of running the flight complaining that most of the locals would prefer to travel on road rather than planes and hence there would be scarcity of passengers for the flights. Previously, the price of a flight to Surkhet was determined to be Rs 4,100.
However, the tourism ministry of Karnali province said that no conclusion has been reached about the regulation of flight on the Jumla-Surkhet route. Although an agreement had been reached with Sita Air for running flights to all remote districts of Jumla, Dambar Budha, the Personal Assistant of the province Tourism Minister Nanda Singh Budha said he is not in a position to say what happened to the agreement now. “We are not in the situation to say anything about the air service. All that can be said is that the province government is trying its best to connect Jumlas to Surkhet via air.”