Dharan airport project fails to take off

Rabin Giri

Dharan, April 12:

The airport construction project at Dharan has remained in limbo due to unclear government policies. The Yeti Incorporated (P) Ltd, an associate of the Yeti Airlines, had initiated a project a year ago. But the government has not issued permit for construction citing various technical reasons, the organisation informed. “Dharan could have had the airport six months ago, had the government issued the permit on time,” said Ganesh Khatiwada, information officer at the Dharan municipality, which is to act as the collaborator in the proposed airport construction project. The government is neither ready to work on its own nor is it allowing the private companies, Khatiwada alleged.

After the government enacted a policy allowing private construction companies to take part in the airport construction, the Yeti Incorporated bought a plot of 10 bighas of land in Dharan-17, Dandadhop region. Following positive signals from the government during primary discussions, the company had started construction work in last March, Kundan Rana, a partner in the construction project, told The Himalayan Times. “But the government seems to be hesitant now to adopt the policy introduced by itself,” Rana told. “How could one expect foreign investment to surge in this situation?,” he added. According to him, the two and half bighas of land provided by the Dharan municipality and seven and half bighas of land bought by the Yeti Incorporated for the purpose are now lying unutilised. A sum of Rs 5.5 million has already been spent and we are in a position to complete the 2,350 feet long runway if the government issues the permit, Rana said.

The government had called tenders for the first time early in April last year from interested parties to construct the airport, which were rejected without opening them. Tender for the same works was invited the second time. Yeti Incorporated was declared unfit both times on technical grounds. The ministry of tourism and civil aviation has, however, informed that the bidding of Yeti Incorporated was not approved as it was the only company that submitted the tender both the times.