There was a time when Tikapur in Kailali used to see the operation of flights to several destinations, including Nepalgunj, Kathmandu, and other hilly districts in the far west.

It was a time when hilly districts in Sudurpaschim Province had limited or almost no access (in the case of some districts) to motorable roads.

People traveling in the hilly districts had to travel by air or on foot.

It took at least three days to reach Achham on foot from Kailali.

The airport was shut during the armed conflict in the country. Tikapur people, who hoped to see the airport start operating after the conflict were disappointed. With the country entering the peace process, encroachment on the airport further escalated.

Hundreds of huts were constructed there. Eventually, after the consent of all stakeholders to bring the airport into operation, the freed Kamaiya (bonded labourers) who had been staying on the airport premises shifted somewhere else.

Millions of rupees were spent on evacuating the airport, said Tikaram Jaishi, then chairman of the airport management committee.

The evacuation was followed by airport reconstruction work and the operation of test flight as well.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.