First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: Despite the lockdown, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has given continuity to the construction and upgradation work of the national pride projects that fall under its jurisdiction.
Among the pride projects, construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) and Pokhara International Airport (PIA) as well as the upgradation of Tribhuvan International Airport has continued even during the lockdown.
However, the ministry was not able to achieve the desired outcome.
Among the airport projects, GBIA is the most-awaited international airport in the country. After extending the completion deadline three times, the Civil Aviation Office at the GBIA had earlier stated that the physical construction of the airport would be completed by March. However, citing the COVID-19 pandemic,MoCTCA has said that GBIA will be completed by the next six months.
Till date, the airport has achieved 91 percent work progress. So far, construction of the runway, taxiway, apron and parking bay has been completed along with the IT building, international terminal building and the administrative building. Similarly, construction of the control tower has also been completed. As per MoCTCA, 85 percent of physical work has been completed to date.
The upgradation work of GBIA was started in January 2015 with a target to complete it by December 2017. However, over the years upgradation work of the airport has been hit by several obstructions.
Meanwhile, the construction of PIA has also been affected somehow by the lockdown. According to the ministry, the difficulties in the supply of construction materials due to the lockdown have affected the construction work of PIA. Moreover, lack of human resources has also affected work.
Overall the project has achieved 62 percent work progress so far and the ministry expects the airport to be ready in 2021.
Meanwhile, construction of the Nijgadh International Airport (NIA) has been dragging on for the last 25 years.MoCTCA had expected to achieve some progress with this project in 2020. In fact, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai had even announced that the foundation stone of the NIA would be laid by mid-2020. However, the ongoing case at the Supreme Court and difficulties that have arisen in distributing compensation for land acquisition have affected the project.
As per MoCTCA, land owners have not contacted the authority to receive their compensation due to which land acquisition work has been halted.
Amid this, TIA has achieved significant work progress. During the lockdown, extension work of the apron, parking bay and runway was completed. Likewise, renovation of the international terminal building and construction of a parallel taxiway have also been completed. Moreover, the work of upgrading TIA into a boutique airport has achieved 45 percent work progress so far.
Minister Bhattarai has mentioned that passengers will experience a new ambiance and system at TIA by next year.
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