Civil aviation report riles Pokhara folks

Pokhara, June 8

The recent report prepared by experts that reckons the under-construction international airport in Pokhara as unfit to operate international flights hasn’t gone down well with the locals of Pokhara who criticised it calling it a conspiracy against the people of Pokhara.

Earlier, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation had formed a 21-member experts’ team led by former secretary Birendra Bahadur Deuja to study and make necessary recommendations for the improvement of the civil aviation sector in the country two months ago. The team submitted its report to the ministry recently.

At an interaction organised by Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry here today, its former chairperson and Provincial Assembly member Bindu Kumar Thapa condemned the report, viewing it as a part of a conspiracy of Kathmandu residents to thwart construction of an international airport outside the valley.

Nepali Congress Kaski chair Krishna KC pledged to stand up to anyone trying to abort the airport construction project. He also accused Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari of playing with the feelings of the residents of the lake city, while Pokhara CCI chair Bishwo Shankar Palikhe said the report had raised questions on the tourism minister’s commitment to the project as a minister and a local of Pokhara. Even a central member of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Rajkaji Gurung criticised the report calling it unfortunate and childish.

Meanwhile, Province 4 Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung said the report submitted by experts’ team was nonsense. “The experts’ team formed by the ministry is absurd, and its report is unfortunate,” he said, adding that no one could stop the construction of international airport in Pokhara now. His comments came after the Pokhara CCI submitted him a memorandum expressing their dissatisfaction with the report.