Kathmandu, July 11
The full-fledged construction work of Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA) is finally slated to begin from September, over 40 years since the government first floated the plans of the mega project.
A Chinese firm, China CAMC Engineering, the contractor of the project, has planned to begin formal work right after the monsoon, according to project officials.
Pradip Adhikari, director of PRIA, informed that the contractor has started making arrangements of temporary accommodations for its staffers. “The contractor is currently busy in procuring the equipment and managing temporary accommodation for the workers, and the formal work will begin after this monsoon.” According to Adhikari the preliminary works of the project is in the final stage.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has planned to complete China EXIM bank-funded project by May of 2021.
Rabindra Adhikari, a member of Parliament from Kaski, informed that the contractor has started building a site office and is doing other necessary works to begin the physical works.
The government had signed a $215.96 million soft loan agreement at an interest rate of two per cent with China EXIM Bank in March 2016 to construct the project. According to officials at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, one-fourth of the total loan amount will be provided interest-free.
The government has awarded the contract of PRIA, which will have a single 2,500-metre-long and 45-metre-wide runway, to the Chinese firm under engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model.
The government and China EXIM bank have agreed to open an escrow account to deposit the revenue generated by the airport.
This project will cover around 4,000 ropanis of land at Chinnedanda in Pokhara. The airport will be able to handle aircraft like Boeing 757 and Airbus 320, which is expected to significantly ease the air traffic at Tribhuvan International Airport, the sole international airport in the country.
A version of this article appears in print on July 12, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.