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Tourism minister asks officials to complete GBIA by December

The Himalayan Times

Interview with Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai. Photo: Naresh Shrestha/ THT
Interview with Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai. Photo: Naresh Shrestha/ THT

Tourism minister asks officials to complete GBIA by December

Kathmandu, August 8

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai today directed project officials of the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) to complete the project within the designated deadline of December.

Minister Bhattarai, who visited the project site in Bhairahawa today, said that GBIA’s completion within the December deadline is a ‘test’ for all project officials and the government itself. In such a context, all the stakeholders involved in the project should ensure that the project does not miss the deadline this time.

Against the backdrop of project officials and contractors citing ineffective coordination from local governments in Bhairahawa and nearby districts to supply river products to the project, Bhattarai also directed local governments to facilitate the project development.

“The government will not tolerate any inconvenience created by the local governments or other groups in the project development, as GBIA is directly related to the country’s pride, tourism and the overall economy,” he said.

Besides, Minister Bhattarai also assured to resolve all logical concerns of the project developer and other stakeholders.

Earlier, construction works at GBIA had been halted for a few months after the local governments in the district did not allow the supply of river products to the project. Moreover, the Chinese contractor of the project had also complained about difficulties in obtaining river products for the project which had resulted in a frequent extension in the project completion deadline.

Citing that most of the projects tend to witness problems during the project completion phase, Bhattarai urged stakeholders to make GBIA an ideal project by completing it on time.

Furthermore, the minister informed that the government has requested the Asian Development Bank, which has been supporting GBIA financially, to release payments on time to ensure the timely completion of the project.

On the request of the Chinese contractor company — Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Company — the government had earlier extended the project deadline of GBIA to December.

The upgradation of GBIA was started in January 2015, with a target to complete it by December 2017. However, conflict between contractors, Tarai-Madhesh movement after earthquake of 2015 and lack of construction materials were cited as some of the reasons hindering construction of GBIA. Consequently, the completion deadline was extended to June 2018.

The project has been divided into two phases — ICB 01 that includes infrastructural work and ICB 02 that includes installing the equipment. As per GBIA Project Chief Prabesh Adhikari, the second phase — ICB 02 — is still to begin.

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