Dipayal airport out of use for over 10 years

Dipayal, March 8

It was back in 2012 when then Tourism and Civil Aviation minister Lokendra Bista flew to Dipayal to inaugurate a regional trade festival organised by Doti Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Upon arrival, Bista had assured resumption of flights to Dipayal airport from that very day. However, not a single plane has flown from or to the airport ever since.

Much recently, Commerce Minister Som Prasad Pande flew to Dipayal to inaugurate the far-west regional festival on March 4. Not unlike Bista, Minister Pande also didn’t shy away from pledging to resume regular flights to the airport during the festival period and once-a-week flight after that.

But days after his return to the Capital, the airport is still waiting for a plane to land here.

Dipayal Airport was established 10 years ago and is the oldest in the entire far-west region. After services at the airport were disrupted citing ‘temporary halt’, the airport has yet to resume operation, except for when ministers fly here.

Local residents and Dipayal CCI have frequently urged the concerned authorities to resume the airport, but to no avail.

This time, following assurance from Minister Pande, Nepali Army and Nepal Police personnel, along with Dipayal CCI, representatives had cleaned the airport premises.

“We were elated and carried out the clean-up drive as Minister Pande had committed to resume flights to the airport. But ever since he flew out, no plane has flown in so far,” said Doti CCI Chairperson Narendra Khadka.

Local businessperson Khemraj Bhandari also vented ire on the ministers’ bogus promises. “Every time they come here, they make false promises and never do anything about it,” said Bhandari, adding, “The resumption of flights at the airport could prove a gateway for development of the entire region.”

Kailali CCI former general secretary Mohan Sharma said the private sector was ready to support resumption of services at the airport.