Air passengers left in the lurch

Nepalgunj, October 5:

Hundreds of passengers have been left stranded in Nepalgunj after the state-run Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) operated only a few discounted flights to different airstrips in the Karnali zone.

Though the government had announced 51 discounted flights for people of the Karnali zone keeping in view the Dashain festival, the NAC has so far operated only a few of them.

Saying that the special provision for the people of Karnali was not materialised, hundreds of passengers heading home for the Dashain festival have been agitating in the NAC’s regional office in Nepalgunj and Nepalgunj airport for the last three days.

The irate passengers vandalised the Nepalgunj airport on Friday morning resulting to the cancellation of two flights bound for Humla’s Simikot and Mugu’s Talcha airstrips.

“Over 1200 passengers bound for Humla, Jumla, Mugu, Kalikot and Dolpa have been stranded in Nepalgunj because of the negligence of NAC,” Narendra Nath Yogi, coordinator of Karnali Rights Coordination Committee, said.

Chief of NAC’s regional office in Nepalgunj Ram Bahadur Thapa said they were facing difficulties in operating discounted flights because they had not received written documents from NAC central office in Kathmandu. “However, we have already resumed discounted flights after receiving verbal directions from the central office,” he added.

Director of Nepalgunj airport Suresh Ajad said two private airlines — Sita Air and Yeti Airlines — had been providing discounted flights in remote districts of the Karnali zone.

“The airlines have been given written directions to operate discounted flights. But they are not implementing it,” said Prem Lama of Humla.

Hundreds of passengers heading home for Dashain celebration have been waiting for the early operation of discounted flights in different hotels and other areas in Nepalgunj.