Lawmakers concerned about air safety

Kathmandu, May 16

Lawmakers today raised issues related to air safety in the House of Representatives in the aftermath of the crash of a single-engine cargo aircraft of Makalu Air this morning in Kharpunath, Humla, killing two pilots — Kiran Bhattarai and Aditya Nepali.

Lawmaker Dilendra Prasad Badu said such accidents involving single-engine aircraft had been repeating frequently. Citing a study report that had shown single-engine aircraft were prone to accidents, Badu said the government should conduct proper study and come up with a clear policy on single-engine aircraft.

Referring to US-Bangla Airlines crash at Tribhuban International Airport on March 12 that killed 51 passengers, Badu said the families of the victims were yet to get insurance amount and compensation.

Stating that there was no information about the probe committee formed immediately after the crash, Badu said deceased Nepali nationals were being discriminated against when it came to insurance payment.

“The victims’ kin say foreign nationals were to get $120,000 in insurance payment, but Nepali nationals will only get $20,000. Why such discrimination against Nepali nationals who were on board the same flight?” questioned Badu.

“As per the information we have, this situation is because of the government’s failure to adopt legislation in line with the Montreal Convention,” he said, adding that he wanted to draw the government’s attention towards the issue.

Lawmaker Chhakka Bahadur Lama said air transport was not an option but compulsion for the people of Humla with no road access, and such accidents occurred frequently.

Stating that Humla was the gateway to religious site of Kailash Mansarovar, he said every year Indian tourists flocked Humla, and this season was about to start. He demanded that the government take appropriate measures to curb such accidents.

He also said that Humla was a food deficit district and Nepal Food Corporation did not have enough food stock for this monsoon when food transport would be almost impossible. “The situation is such that the district will face starvation after Indian tourists start coming in,” he said.

Lawmaker Bimal Prasad Shrivastav questioned why four central ministers travelled to Janakpur to welcome Indian Prime Minister Modi. He also questioned whether Nepali security agencies were not competent enough as Indian security forces were deployed.

Lawmaker Sunil Prajapati demanded that the parliamentary regulations be passed at the earliest provisioning suspension of MPs facing criminal charges.

Lawmaker Bharat Kumar Shah demanded acceleration of the construction of regional international airports in Bhairahawa and Pokhara. He also said the government should talk to India to get new air entry points so that these airports are viable.

In today’s meeting, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Sher Bahadur Tamang, on behalf of Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, presented the third amendment to the Social Security Act in the Parliament for approval.