Government to seek LoI for Nijgadh airport

Kathmandu, August 29

A meeting held among the top officials of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) and Ministry of Finance (MoF) yesterday have jointly decided to seek a letter of intent (LoI) to finalise the construction modality of Nijgadh International Airport.

“We have directed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to prepare the required LoI document and publish a notice as soon as possible,” said Krishna Prasad Devkota, secretary at MoCTCA.

The LoI notice will call upon interested domestic and international firms to submit construction modalities of the planned second international airport in Nepal.

According to Devkota, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada, Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari, secretary and high-level officials of MoF, Investment Board Nepal, National Planning Commission, CAAN, and Nepal Airlines Corporation had participated in the meeting, in which various aspects of the project were discussed to dispel any confusion related to it.

Earlier, the government had handed over the responsibility to secure the construction site of the airport to Nepali Army.

Similarly, MoCTCA had also set the target to finalise the construction modality of the airport in its 100-day action plan, which was unveiled on March 31. But it was unable to achieve the goal.

Things have not moved ahead as expected because of ongoing dispute regarding the payment for the detailed feasibility study of the airport that was carried out by a Korean company Landmark Worldwide (LMW).

However, Devkota informed that the ministry is soon going to settle the dispute with LMW and disburse the payment.

On May 25, Ministry of Forests and Environment had approved the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report of Nijgadh International Airport, which was then forwarded to the MoCTCA.

According to the EIA report, the government plans to cut down 2.4 million trees to build the much-talked-about international airport.

On May 11, MoF had suggested the MoCTCA to build the Nijgadh International Airport in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.