CAAN DG Gautam served 24-hour notice

Kathmandu, September 22

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has sought another clarification from the Director General of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Sanjiv Gautam, giving him 24 hours to clarify why he failed to perform at the country’s aviation regulatory body.

Ministry’s Joint Secretary Ghanashyam Upadhyay told THT that the second clarification letter mainly noted Gautam’s non-performance in every sector as per the terms of references of the annual performance contract signed with the ministry’s secretary last year.

Ministry sources claimed that Gautam’s first clarification was not satisfactory though he submitted 1,700-page supporting documents to the ministry. Gautam, who was on leave for a day today, will formally accept the second letter on Sunday, a CAAN official said.

Earlier, Gautam had been given 72 hours to furnish clarification as per a sub-section of Section 19 of the Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Act on September 13. Gautam had timely submitted his first clarification to the ministry, claiming that allegations against him were baseless and there was no ground to remove him from the post of CAAN director general.

Stakeholders, however, feared that the clarification sought by the ministry from Gautam might affect the outcome of the European Union air safety committee meeting in Brussels in November. The meeting has to review the fate of Nepal’s continuation on the blacklist.

Gautam has been blamed for ending contract with Constructora Sanjose in Tribhuvan International Airport project, delaying construction of an international airport in Nijgadh and a regional international airport in Pokhara, and failing to resolve issues with the Chinese contractor in the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa.

Gautam was appointed CAAN DG for a four-year term in 2015. The ministry has chosen sub-section of Section 19 of the act to seek clarifications, as it can be used to remove the CAAN director general from his post even before his term expires.