Work to upgrade Pokhara airport to start soon

Kathmandu, January 3

Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel has pledged to soon begin the work to upgrade Pokhara airport to international standard. Upgrading the airport was the priority of both Nepal and China, he said.

In a meeting of the Legislature-Parliament’s International Relations and Labour Committee today, the finance minister pledged to accelerate the construction of national pride projects including the upgradation of Pokhara Airport without any further delay. Now there will be no delay in executing the projects of national pride, he said.

Upgrading the Pokhara airport is a long plan of the government. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) had previously conducted a feasibility study towards that end and the Chinese government has already promised to provide soft loan of Rs 21.6 billion to upgrade the airport. Of the promised assistance, 25 per cent will be provided as interest-free loan.

The process of signing the bilateral agreement on loan assistance for the implementation of the project has reached the final phase and the government is waiting for a response from the Chinese side to strike the deal. The agreement is likely to be signed within a week.

On the occasion, Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Dinesh Thapaliya said the government was planning to inaugurate the project probably on January 30 and complete it in five years.

Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi shared that there was no problem in signing the loan agreement to upgrade the Pokhara airport. The Chinese side is fully positive on implementing the project, he said.