Airports closed due Maoist conflict converted to grazing field

Posted on by Pinkey Rai

Most of the remote airports of Nepal closed during Maoist conflict are now fully operating as animal grazing field. The closed airports have not been renovated by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) due to which villages without proper roadway transportation have been highly affected.

More than 12 airports have been closed after the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal and no  concern is being taken from the government and respective authorities to resume the operation. Airports namely Darchula, Patan, Bajhang, Mahendranagar and Kailali are unable to re-operate due to authorities not commencing re-construction and renovation. Likewise, Doti, Jiri, Rolpa, Dolpa, Dhorpatan, Kangeldanda airport also remain fully shut down due to the same case.

Other airports closed after Maoist Conflict are Manang Airport, Langtang Airport, Palungtar Airport, Syangboche Airport and Meghauli Airport. An official of CAAN informed that these airports are completely closed at the moment except for Meghauli Airport that sees Nepalese Army flight sometimes.

The government had allocated some budget for the renovation of Patan and Jiri Airport. However, these airports could not come into operation with renovation work not being initiated. As per the information officer of CAAN, the Nepal government has started goat farming at Jiri Airport. CAAN agreed to lend the land after Agricultural Minister requested to establish farming site at the airport. Kangeldanda Airport located in Solukhumbu which started its operation from remains fully shut down.

Now, the airport has been transformed into animal grazing land since past four years. There used to be routine flights but due to thunderstorms and lightning of 27 falgun, 2071 the tower devices were damaged and the airport failed to operate the flights afterward.

Kangeldanda airport used to operate one flight once a week until the device broke down. Similarly, the highest-altitude airport of Nepal, Syangboche Airport located at an elevation of 12,402 ft in Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality has remained closed since the past decade. The Airport was established 60 years back and has served the village of Namche Bazaar in Solukhumbu district through the 1,312-ft long dirt airstrip at Syangboche.

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