PAC to investigate the obstruction of Gautam Buddha International Airport

The up gradation job of the airport in Bhairahawa has been hit by back to back delays and halts. So the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Parliamentary body, has decided to investigate into Gautam Buddha International Airport construction procedure for finding the matters causing the delay in the work process. Since the up gradation work of the projected airport in Bhairahawa has remained uncertain over completion within the extended deadline the committee seems to be desperate in figuring out the problems. The deadline for the completion of the up gradation work has already been extended twice.

A team of Moreover thirty-six members of lawmakers of the PAC has traveled to Bhairahawa to listen to the public saying and to meet the concerned officials and contractors to have a discussion over the delayed works. However, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Mr. Jitendra Narayan Dev did not fly to Bhairahawa for the public hearings work.

Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel mentioned that the extension project of the Gautam Buddha Airport has been surrounded with numerous obstructions and the entire construction procedure needs to be investigated from the very beginning to smoothly accomplishing the targeted airport.

He has already directed leading bodies of the project to prepare the White Paper on the state of the project with 15 days of submission ultimatum and to hand it to the PAC. In addition, Poudel reported that entire stakeholders of the project, including the contractor, are summoned to be at the PAC meeting to clarify if the project is moving ahead.

Previously the airport was projected to be accomplished by December this year. But circumstances such as the earthquake,  shortages of fuel and building materials caused by long economic blocked in 2015 delayed work by six months. Hence the operation deadline was pushed to June of 2018.

The airport aced another obstruction in March after a dispute aroused over payments between the contractor and an illegally appointed sub-contractor. The project completion deadline has hence been pushed to 2019.

The aroused dispute between the Chinese contractor Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group and the Nepali sub-contractor Northwest Infra Nepal over payments had stalled the construction works since March, not achieving even 1 percent of the monthly progress in the past six months. By the third week of July, the project was targeted to achieve at least 40 percent of accomplishment but could barely meet 26 percent of physical progress. The dispute amongst the contractors has not yet been resolved. The illegally appointed sub-contractor is headed by Nirvik Khanal son of former PM of state Jhala Nath Khanal.

We were informed about the submission of false documents made by the contractors to bag the project. A detailed probe will be operated and if it’s come true, entire stakeholder involved in the project will be severely punished, added Poudel.

The Chinese contractor has performed poorly stated Rajan Pokhrel, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan). The contractor earlier had been issued with grievance “notice to correct” in several occasions and CAAN has allocated additional duration of certain days for the improvement. If failed to deliver back again, termination of the contract is sure, he mentioned.

The team have also decided to hold an additional meeting at the Capital and would issue appropriate orders to the concerned ministry and project said PAC Chairman Dor Prasad Upadhyay.

The project funded by the Asian Development Bank had also hired an international contract management experts for analyzing the risk of contract termination with the nonperforming construction firm.

Similarly, the Chinese Contractors analyzing leggings has wisely approached Civil Aviation Authority for pardoning them and also has committed to working on the construction with new procedure and management team.

The company has thus planned to change its entire work force and add up additional expert staffs from China and finish the task. A set of the team is much likely to arrive Nepal from China for the construction company to cope up with delayed work and finish the project by deadline. Northwest has also decided to replace Nepalese work force with Chinese workers for a proper outcome.

The Gautam Buddha International Airport is expected to be completed with the estimated budget of Rs6.22 billion and will be the gateway to Lumbini reachable from throughout the globe directly after the completion.


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