Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) is under rapid construction as the airport has marked 2019 as the year for its operation. The airport project head and director Om Sharma said that although the work was in snail paced in past, the project has now paced up undertaking 2019 as the year for its full operation.
Sharma said that the workers are convinced to complete the project within the time frame and the airport will come into operation by 2019.
The airport construction was slow paced and halted after the contractor group from China and sub-contractor group from Nepal had dispute initially. Later the Chinese contractor group changed the management and started working. After the change, more than 35% work has already been concluded.
By May/June, he said that all the work will be done except for the construction of main structure of the airport like completion of the international terminal building and blacktopping of the runway. He said that the construction of runway, international terminal building, rescue and firefighting, control tower, administrative buildings, overhead tank etc. are being done at high speed.
Team from Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be visiting the site of construction to study about the work and to think about investing or not in the airport. The bank had stopped funding since January after the work was not being done satisfactorily. The team that will come in March 20 will study and decide whether to invest in the airport or not.
The government and ADB has term of loan agreement till June 2019. The contractor company Northwest Civil Aviation is blacklisted by ADB and after people’s movement in Madhes, 6 month deadline was added but after the work was not satisfactory ADB had stopped funding.
The project was started with 6 arba 22 crore 51 lakh and 20 thousand rupee in which ADB has 40.5% loan and 18% grant. Similarly, OPEC Fund for International Development has funded 30.5% and rest 11% by the government. Almost 1 arba and 50 crore has been paid by ADB already out of total sum said Sharma.
For construction of the airport 15 bigha land was acquired from 2200 people and 800 people has already been reimbursed. Almost 6 arba rupees has been disbursed to peoples out of 23 arba. The budget of current fiscal year was finished so the reimbursement was stopped and the process for it is going on.
The airport is of the level of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and the aircraft which can land on TIA can land in this airport also. This will be helpful when aircraft that cannot land on TIA can be diverted here.
Delay in completion of this airport has halted the runway rehabilitation of TIA and having only 1 international airport has increased problem in the country. After the completion of the airport, the airport aims to handle 60 lakh passengers annually.
Late P.M Sushil Koirala had paved the foundation stone of the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Magh 30, 2071 According to Project Chief, Engineer Om Sharma the agreement was made between the two counterparties for the completion of airport project within three years i.e. 2074 but due to different obstacles till date, only 35 % of the construction works have been completed. After completion of construction, the project will serve the fast raising business and industrial hub of Bhairahawa and help towards development of tourism business in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.