Construction resumes at Gautam Buddha airport

Kathmandu, June 20

The construction works at the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa, which had been halted by the locals have resumed from today.

Locals whose land had been acquired for the construction of the airport had halted construction activities on Monday, citing that the compensation that had to be paid to them had been delayed for long.

The landowners had halted construction works demanding timely payment for land compensation as agreed to earlier.

“The payment problem was settled today through discussions with the concerned locals and the compensation will be paid from Thursday onwards,” informed Om Sharma, project head of Gautam Buddha International Airport.

The affected locals complained that they had been facing hassles in getting their compensation.

The project to expand Bhairahawa airport into an international airport is expected to be completed by 2019. Till date only 50 per cent of the project has been completed.

The project has acquired 500 bighas of land for extension of the airport at a total cost of Rs 23 billion. Till date the project has only distributed Rs six billion in compensation. Sharma said that the Rs five billion that needs to be immediately paid by the project to the affected landowners will be done in two phases — Rs two billion from Thursday and the remaining Rs three billion immediately after the first instalment has been distributed.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal had awarded the project to upgrade the airport to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group in November 2013. Initially, it was estimated that the construction works would be completed at a total cost of Rs 6.22 billion in December last year. However, after many delays the project is expected to be completed only in 2019 at an estimated cost of Rs 15 billion.