Construction of airport in Dharan uncertain; Biratnagar airport to be enhanced

The construction of new airport at Dharan, Sunsari seems uncertain due to lack of adequate land infrastructure and other geographical complexities, as reported by the authorities. With that complications, the enhancement of Biratnagar airport has been kept at top priority rather than constructing new airport at Dharan.

As per the source, while questioning about the study to construct airport at Dharan, Deputy Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Birendra Shrestha said that despite the possibility of making airport, there is a geographical risk, and is being studied on the subject as the proposed airport is nearer to Biratnagar airport.

Senior officials of the Authority conducted a site study on whether the construction of airport at Dharan is possible or not and the authority has already prepared the detailed study report and environmental impact assessment (EIA). For other detailed information about the issue, the authority has made plans for a separate public program.

CAAN had  set up a budget of 2 crores for detailed study for construction of the airport at Dadaghopa in Dharan-17. The Sub-Municipality has not been able to manage the land even though the Authority has prepared detailed study reports of the airport.

Deputy Director General Shrestha also informed that for the purpose of upgrading Biratnagar Airport as an international airport, Rs 1.35 billion budget has been sanctioned with the long term planning whereas required land acquisition has also begun for the expansion of the runway.

The authority has planned to extend the 1500 meter runway of Biratnagar Airport to at least 2500 meters. Under the cost of Rs.30 million, the remodeling work of the terminal building has started.

Regarding Dharan airport, geographically there could be only 800 meters of the runway due to which only small aircraft could operate and would be expensive for constructing airport.

According to the demand of local people of Dharan, 92 bigha land is required for constructing airport for operating small aircraft.  However, the cost of acquiring land and construction of airport will be very expensive and risky and the authority cannot give assurance to construct airport at Dharan completely. Senior officer Ghimire, who conducted the study at Dharan last year said that the possibility of constructing airport is very low and the feasibility study is only taking place.  He mentioned that it is a complicated subject of land acquisition and not appropriate geographically.

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