Fund shortage stalls runway construction

Himalayan News Service

Rajbiraj, February 23:

Lack of adequate fund has badly affected the construction of a concrete runway at the Rajbiraj airport, which was started a year ago.

The decision to construct a concrete runway was taken at an all-party meeting during the office term of then DDC chairman Sachchindra Kumar Yadav.

The airport was inaugurated by late Ganesh Man Singh in 1960 when he was the transport minister.

For six months in a year the airport remains idle generating no business. This is because it does not have a concrete runway and planes cannot land during the rainy season, said president of Saptari consumers’ forum, Shatrughna Prasad Dev.

The construction of a 16-km runway, pitching, fencing the airport, renovating the office, repairing the road from the Indian border near Kunauli to the airport, and other maintenance work was estimated to cost around Rs 60 million. The estimate and profile were submitted to the engineer of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal. It was decided at the meeting the runway would be built with financial help from all 114 VDCs of the district, and the deficit would be given by the DDC. Though 28 VDCs sent in their contributions, the others failed to do so. Hence, the delay, said Arun Kumar Pradhan, president, Rajbiraj airport runway improvement consumers’ panel.

Apart from the unloading of one trip of gravel, the work could go no further due of lack of fund, said another member Arun Kumar Dev. When contacted, LDO Nava Raj Upadhyaya said he could not comment on the issue as he was newly posted in the area.