Landfill site relocation issue delays operation of Pokhara international airport

Published On: April 16, 2022 06:20 PM NPT By: Santosh Pokharel

POKHARA, April 16: The construction of the Pokhara Regional International Airport has reached its final stage. The contractor company has also handed over the airport to the government. 

Although the airport is ready for operation if we consider the development of physical infrastructures, the operation of the airport is still uncertain as some of the critical issues related to this are not yet resolved.

Stakeholders are of the view that air travel and landing will not be possible until the obstacles in the operation of the airport are removed. Aviation technicians have said that the biggest obstacle in the operation of the international airport in Pokhara is the landfill site, which is located nearby.

It is yet to be ascertained where and for how long the landfill site of Pokhara, which has been managing garbage for years, will be removed. The metropolis is currently managing the city's garbage in Bachchebuduwa of Pokhara-14.

The newly-built airport is located some 2 kilometers away from the airport. Experts say that piles of garbage near the airport will attract birds and thus increase the risk of flights operating to and from the new airport. The landfill has to be relocated in order for the airport to start operation. 

However, the metropolis is  taking initiative at a turtle pace to relocate the landfill site. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), the airport will not be able to start operation unless the landfill site is relocated elsewhere. 

During a discussion program organized recently by Buddha Air in Pokhara, Chief District Officer of Kaski, Jayanarayan Acharya, said that the Pokhara Metropolitan City will take initiative to immediately relocate the landfill site. “The search for a new landfill site will be conducted by the metropolis. A meeting of the Compensation Determination Committee will be held within two hours for the necessary land acquisition process,” CDO Acharya said.

CDO Acharya said the role of the administration is in land acquisition and determination of compensation. “That work will start immediately,” Acharya added. He also mentioned that the state of the current landfill site is in chaos.

Spokesperson of Pokhara Metropolitan City Dhan Bahadur Nepali said that as many as three locations have been recommended for the new landfill site. But, a concrete decision on the locations has not been made. 

Managing Director of Buddha Airlines Birendra Bahadur Basnet asserted that an airline would not be able to take-off and land from the airport because of the landfill site. “Air services cannot be provided from the airport unless the landfill is removed from its current location. Numerous birds are flying around the airport, which can lead to accidents at any time," Basnet said.

Basnet further said that this airport is necessary not only for Pokhara but also for the Gandaki Province as well as the whole country. He said that the airport could not be brought into operation even as the infrastructure to lead the country on the path of economic development. He argued that the flights from the new airport would begin as soon as the landfill site is relocated.

Meanwhile, tourism entrepreneurs said that it is very unfortunate that the airport could not be operated due to the landfill site. They also suggested going for management of garbage instead of dumping and forgetting about them.

Chairman of Trekking Association Agencies of Nepal (TAAN) Gandaki Sushil Poudel said they have so far only talked about dumping the garbage. “We should rather look for alternatives for its management,” he said. 


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