Kathmandu, July 31

The government today appointed Nepal Communist Party (NCP)’s leader Yogesh Bhattarai as the minister of culture, tourism and civil aviation.

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to Bhattarai at a function held in the president’s office.

The post of tourism minister had been vacant for almost five months since the demise of the then tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari in a chopper crash on February 27. Since then, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had been handling the responsibility of tourism ministry.

This undated image shows appointed minister for culture, tourism and aviation, Yogesh Bhattarai. Photo: Naresh Krishna Shrestha/THT
This undated image shows appointed minister for culture, tourism and aviation, Yogesh Bhattarai. Photo: Naresh Krishna Shrestha/THT

Soon after the oath ceremony, Bhattarai assumed his duties. He said he would sincerely follow up on the pending workloads of the ministry. Stating he had big shoes to fill, he said, “Late minister Adhikari would have done much in this sector, if not for his untimely demise. I will do my best to continue his work.”

He vowed to move ahead with suggestions and support of the experienced stakeholders.

Bhattarai is an elected member of the House of Representatives from Taplejung district. Having started his political career as a student leader, Bhattarai is currently NCP’s publicity department chief.


Five major challenges for Bhattarai

  • Completing construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa before the new stipulated deadline of December. The project has already missed completion deadline thrice
  • Turning around the loss-making national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation, which is straddled with a debt of Rs 24 billion, and struggling to expand its services to new  destinations to operate its wide-body aircraft in a full-fledged manner
  • Giving momentum to the sluggish pace of preparations for Visit Nepal 2020 campaign
  • Removing the country’s aviation sector from European Union’s blacklist
  • Revision of policies, preservation and promotion of cultural and historical heritage sites of the country, increasing income from tourism sector