KATHMANDU: The government plan to complete the upgrading of the Bhairahawa-based Gautam Buddha Airport to the regional airport of the international level will have accomplished by 2016.
It is one of the projects which fall under the projects of the national pride.
After the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed in principle to provide further assistance to the Nepal Government to implement the plan, the Gautam Buddha airport would be promoted into Nepal's regional international airport.
The ADB has agreed to provide both soft loan and grants to the Nepal government under the South Asian Tourism Infrastructure Development Project to develop the Gautam Buddh airport to the international standard by equipping with everything essential to the aviation.
For the upgrading of the Gautam Buddha Airport, a Korean company had prepared a detailed project report (DPR) with design after conducting a survey in 2007/008. The DPR had pointed out the need of further amount of 42 million US dollar than the earlier allocated 38.15 million US dollar.
The estimated amount was hugely increased after the proposal of adding 400 meter to the initially proposed 2,600 meter long runway, installation of radar, new control tower and other modern equipments in the domestic and international runways as per the standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Similarly, there would be the modern facilities as of a cargo, buildings to the customs and crash fire, parking places for Boeing 777-200, Air Bus A 330-300, drinking water and drainage system, and the Ghagarakhola diversion.
Because the additional amount for the project implantation was not provided on time, the project planned to be accomplished by 2015 has now prolonged by one more year as per the amended work plan of Nepal Civil Aviation Authority.
Vice-Chairman at the National Planning Commission, Deependra Bahadur Kshetry said the upgrading of the airport would be carried out in two phases, and the assistance for this was sought with the ADB through the Finance Ministry.
According to the report prepared by the Korean consultant, the ADB has been written through the Finance Ministry for the immediate assistance of 42 million US dollars.
Moreover, the ADB headquarters Manila had deputed an Australian consultant Victor Craig to study about the airport. He has now returned to Manila following the study. Mr Craig would submit the final report ascertaining whether the report presented by the Korean Company was practicable.
The report by Mr Craig who has already worked as a technical consultant while constructing various airports in Malaysia and the Tribhuvan International Airport of Nepal would be the final one.
"It is a very positive development that the ADB sent its consultant before assuring the grants to expedite the upgrading of the Airport which was has delayed due to the shortage of the amount," said Lok Bahadur Khatri, Chief of the Planning Division at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
The Project Chief Murari Bhandari said the ADB Vice-Chairman and Director General to the South Asia, while they were in Nepal visit, had already suggested Nepal to the begin the construction of the airport in a single phase.
According to him, the ADB has given very positive response to provide the amount needed for the project. Following the receipt of the acceptance by the ADB, necessary work as bidding would begin very soon.
The ADB consultant Craig had also informed that he would submit the report in this very week.
Meanwhile, the ADB Office in Nepal has made it clear that Mr Craig would come to Nepal again for study this month and submit the report to the ADB headquarters in Manila.
Lumbini is the birthplace of the precursor of the peace, Gautam Buddha.
The Lumbini is the sanctum sanctorum of the World's Buddhist people.