Kathmandu, May 14
The government is gearing up to initiate the process for detailed project report (DPR) of Second International Airport (SIA) next fiscal.
SIA – a national pride project located at Nijgadh of Bara district – has failed to take off due to various factors, including payment dispute with Landmark Worldwide (LMW) of South Korea related to detailed feasibility study (DFS) of the airport.
In this regard, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has set a target to resolve the dispute with LMW within this fiscal so that the DPR study can be initiated next fiscal.
According to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the government and LMW in March of 2010, the company had to conduct the feasibility study within two years at a total cost of $3.55 million. The signatories had also verbally agreed that the government would not have to pay the firm for DFS if it managed to bag the contract for construction of the project.
The company completed the study in 2012, as per the set deadline. However, it claimed the cost of conducting the study had gone up to $3.65 million.
Though the government officials repeatedly sought the supporting documents for the claimed amount, the company has failed to provide them till date, informed Buddhi Sagar Lamichhane, joint secretary at MoCTCA.
“While the company officials have verbally agreed to do the necessary to resolve this matter within the next two months, we have told them that they should submit detailed, transparent and evidence-based documents,” he said.
Once the company submits all the documents, the ministry will ask an independent auditor to cross-check and verify it. If everything is in order, the government will make the payment.
Should everything go according to the plan, the ministry is hoping to complete the DPR, bidding process for construction and begin construction of SIA in two years. “We have set a new target to complete the project within next four to five years.”
Initially scheduled to be completed by 2017-18, the SIA will be spread over 80 square kilometres, as per the DFS. If constructed as per the study, it will be the biggest airport in the entire South Asian region and is expected to be crucial in easing the congesting at the Tribhuvan International Airport – the sole international airport in the country.
According to an earlier estimate of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), it will cost Rs 121 billion to construct the airport.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikar, while unveiling the ministry’s 100-day working plan on March 30, has iterated government’s commitment to construct the Second International Airport in Nijgadh.
A version of this article appears in print on May 15, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.