Construction Works at the Eastern airport in Saptari District, Rajbiraj Airport have failed to gather pace, raising doubts over completion of the project even in April, this year.
On November 2016, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) awarded the NRs 33 Million project to Raman Kanchha Ram Dev and Sayar JV Construction Company and the project was supposed to be accomplished in December 15, 2017 but the work was delayed due to flood, dense fog, and other reasons. While the delay in the construction has irked the locals of the district, no flights have been operated in the airport since last nine years.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Jitendra Narayan Dev, who visited the airport last week has stated that the airport will resume operation from April. Earlier, during a visit to Rajbiraj in his home district Saptari, Minister Dev had committed that the airport would start its operation from November, last year.
As per the report by the Contractor Company, ministers, and local representatives, 30 percent constructional work is still pending.
The construction of the runway is now in the final stage. Likewise, blacktopping of runway, renovation of road, establishing the ATF depot, parking and terminal buildings are yet to be started.
Project head for Rajbiraj Airport of CAAN, Ram Iqbal Mahato, acknowledged that the work of base and sub-base for runway has been completed and blacktopping at upper layer is only left. The construction of ATC Control and Terminal building is also expected to complete in couple of month, added Mr. Mahato.
The Blacktopping work of the runway and airport fencing was started last year and was completed up to 1500m but due to flood, the completed constructions were disrupted.
The airport has also many issues yet to be solved as the airport land does not comply with the national criteria. While to solve this issue, the MoCTCA has already allocated NRs 520 million for the land acquisition which is yet to be started, Minister Dev said.
But so far only 70 percent of the airport’s construction works have been completed. CAAN had then spent NRs 20 million for runway gravelling and other works. At that time, locals and district leaders had raised objection, claiming irregularity in runway construction. Locals have expressed enthusiasm on the prospects of resuming flights to and from the airport.