Nijgadh Int’l Airport, a highest priority project for the nation, says minister

The national pride project at Nijgadh, Bara has been the highest priority under the 100 days working strategy of the newly appointed Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) Mr. Rabindra Adhikari.

Approval of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), responsibility management for the Korean Company and the layout of the airport will be prepared as per the strategy of the new minister.

The government has already decided to procure Detail Project Report (DPR) of the Second International Airport (SIA) from the Korean Company Landmark Worldwide Company (LMW). MoCTCA finally agreed on getting the DPR from the Korean company after 7 years of dispute on whether to buy it or not.

The ministry in a statement announced that the DPR from the Korean company was approved so that the SIA project will proceed and will strengthen and support the economic development of the country.

Minister Adhikari has also committed to speed up other international projects namely Gautam Buddha International Airport, Pokhara Regional International Airport and Tribhuvan International Airport enhancement projects.

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The approval of DPR has been agreed by the government however, the various model proposals for the airport has been adding controversy over the initiation of the project.

As per the information, Tourism Ministry assumed that they received different suggestion concerning the modality construction which can cause delay in the progression if a concrete decision is not taken in time.

According to the National Planning Commission (NPC), it would be good if the airport is built under the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) modality with government investment and planning to operate the airport under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model including foreign or Nepali investors’ boards after the construction project is done.

The Finance Ministry has suggested the tourism Ministry to approve the engineering, procurement, construction and finance (EPCF) modality by involving government investment to build the new international airport. Moreover, Finance Ministry also requested to keep PPP model as the second option if the first one does not work.

Under the EPC model ,a distinct contractor is responsible for engineering, construction work, procurement and design whereas under the EPCF model, the contracting firm makes all the arrangement of funding to build the projects and all the components.

Similarly, a high-level panel comprising joint secretaries of the NPC and the Finance and Tourism ministries and the deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has urged the government to construct the airport under the Build Own Operate and Transfer (Boot) model.

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