KATHMANDU, Aug 25: The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has achieved 60 percent progress in the last fiscal year 2019/20, according to Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai.
Speaking at a virtual program to make the ministry’s annual progress report public, Minister Bhattarai said the ministry was able to achieve only 60 percent of progress due to the effects of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the crucial phase of project completion.
“The situation was out of hand due to the pandemic. It was almost certain that the ministry would have achieved overall 90 percent progress,” he said. “The financial progress was hindered as the ministry could not spend the allocated budget for the construction of international airports.”
According to the ministry, a total of Rs 3.5 billion could not be paid to the contractors and the companies working for the construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) and about Rs 1.5 billion allocated for the construction of Nijgadh International Airport could not be spent during the last fiscal year. GBIA has recorded 91 percent progress till date.
Minister Bhattarai informed that the progress of the construction of Pokhara Regional International Airport is still well on track and will be completed within the given time frame. “If the pandemic had not impacted the airport’s construction works it would have been completed six months prior to its deadline,” he said. “The construction of the airport will be completed by June 2021 which is its original deadline.”
The construction of international airports has been hindered as human resources from different countries including China and America were unable to come to Nepal. “The construction will be completed as soon as they arrive in Nepal and the commercial operation will start after three months of the completion of the project,” he added.
Meanwhile, the construction of about 77 kilometers of the great Himalayan trail that includes mountain regions from east to the west of Nepal has been completed. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the 127 kilometer stretch of the Himalayan trail has already been prepared.
According to the annual report, profiles of 70 of the total 100 tourist destinations announced by the government have already been prepared. There are about 192 established and new destinations and the ministry has disbursed a hundred percent budget for 122 destinations and 50 percent for the remaining 70 destinations.