Nepal | July 08, 2020

ADB delegation tells project contractor to expedite work

• Bhairahawa International Airport

Himalayan News Service
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Bhairahawa, March 24

Representatives of Asian Development Bank have instructed the contractor of the under-construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa to expedite work.

An ADB delegation led by Country Director for Nepal Mukhtor Khamudkhanov made a field observation of the project and instructed the Chinese contractor to complete the project on time by working  extra shifts and managing enough equipment.

The team arrived in Bhairahawa on Tuesday and returned to Kathmandu yesterday. The team will visit the project in June to review work progress.

The team also met officials from the Ministry for Culture and Civil Aviation, Project Coordination Unit, civil aviation chief, team leader Mister Chang of the consultant Korean team, among others, separately in order to learn about the cause for the delay in the project.

Meanwhile, in the wake of ADB’s warning and direction from high level officials of the authorities concerned, Chinese contractor has now expedited its work. The company has also sought government approval to bring in 200 more Chinese workers.

Currently, 50 Chinese technicians are involved in the project. While the Chinese contractor is directly involved in the construction of the terminal building and runway, it has entrusted a Nepali contractor with the construction of buildings, security walls, drainage and other secondary work.

“As per the ADB’s instruction, we have to complete construction of the administrative and electrician buildings by the June deadline which we will be able to meet,” said project chief Om Sharma, adding around 50 per cent of the work will be completed by the end of this fiscal.

The national pride project had started construction work from January 2015. The government has extended the deadline for completion of the project as it has already missed the 2017 deadline. The project originally estimated to cost somewhere around Rs 5.22 billion is said to cost additional Rs 3 billion.

ADB had extended Rs 540 million in grant and additional Rs 4.20 billion in loan for the airport project. But, as per the project officials, ADB so far has released Rs 1 billion only.

The airport seen as an alternative to the only existing Tribhuvan International Airport will be capable of hosting aircraft such as Airbus A 340 and Boeing 777 once its construction is over. As per a master plan made for the airport, it will be upgraded to a facility that can handle as many as six million passengers by 2020.

A version of this article appears in print on March 25, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

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