Construction of Panchthar airport in limbo

Panchthar, November 10

Although two years have elapsed since its detailed project report was finalised, works on construction of the proposed airport in Panchthar, Ranitar has yet to take off.

Three years ago, then government had directed the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal to carry out feasibility study for construction of the airport in Syaudanda, Ranitar VDC.

However, long after the aviation authorities finalised the DPR and locals pledged in writing to provide land required for the project, works on the project have yet to begin.

Joint-secretary of the airport management committee Bikram Gurung blamed the local political parties and District Development Committee for the delay.

“The project’s DPR has been finalised, while the land owners are also ready to provide land for the project,” said Gurung, adding that out of 425 ropani required for the airport, the locals are ready to donate 80 per cent.

Vice-chairperson of the committee Tanka Gurung also blamed the local authorities for the delay. “Although the locals have shown interest in providing land required for the project, local authorities have taken no initiatives to acquisition land,” he argued.

The estimated cost of the proposed 670-metre-long and 40-metre-wide runway is Rs 165.4 million.

Meanwhile, a team of technicians are scheduled to arrive in the district in a few days for field study. “This is a big district with not a single airport and if we need to travel by air, we have to go to Taplejung’s Suketar or Jhapa’s Bhadrapur or Biratnagar,” lamented Kushal Gurung of Ranitar.