Kathmandu, August 25
The Development Committee of the Legislature-Parliament has directed all the concerned authorities to resolve the dispute on soil quarry at the earliest to help make available soil required for Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) improvement project.
The borrow pit is owned by the Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) and a case on the quarry is currently under the consideration of the Supreme Court. Out of total requirement of two million cubic metres of soil, the project contractor so far has managed to get only 400,000 cubic metres.
This clearly shows that the project is going to miss the target to complete the project — TIA Air Transport Enhancement Project — within March 2016. Due to the dispute regarding the pit, the project has been facing shortage of soil for more than a year, delaying the basic earthwork to construct additional parking bay, parallel taxiway and exit way at TIA.
After the delay in the improvement project and failure to maintain quality service, the committee members had gone to TIA for inspection on August 12. Based on the inspection, Chairman of the Committee Rabindra Adhikari, today, submitted a report to Subas Nembang, chairman of Constituent Assembly. The report includes recommendations and instructions for infrastructure and service improvement of the country’s only international airport.
“All the concerned authorities have to support in reopening of the soil quarry to help in airport improvement work by ensuring that this will provide maximum benefit to PADT,” read a recommendation of the report. The quarry is located in Gothatar. The contractor is currently bringing soil from different borrow pits of Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kavrepalanchowk for the project, according to the report.
A Spanish firm — Constructora Sanjose — is the main contractor of the project, while Tundi Construction, a local construction company, is a sub-contractor for civil works and asphalt pavement works. Due to the increase in air traffic movement and no other alternative, the government has been facing huge pressure to enhance the capacity of TIA.
As per the instruction of the Committee, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development and the Ministry of Home Affairs will have to work in removing hurdles in TIA improvement project by mobilising concerned agencies under them. Under the airport improvement plan, the runway, which is 3,000 metres long, will be extended to the south by 300 metres.
Lack of effective ground safety for take-off and landing, failure of Nepal Airlines Corporation to effectively carry out ground handling task, lack of cleanliness, narrow rooms for senior citizens and for breast feeding, shortage of scanners and x-ray machines, lack of coordination among the stakeholders and monopoly in shops, are some of the problems at TIA, according to the report. The committee has also instructed concerned government authorities to solve these issues.
A version of this article appears in print on August 26, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.