Rajbiraj, December 27
Upgradation of Saptari’s Rajbiraj airport has yet to be completed although the deadline for completion of the work has already expired. While the delay has irked residents of the district, no flights have been operated from here for the last nine years.
Earlier, Kathmandu-based Kanchharam and Rauhatas Construction Company had won the contract for the airport upgradation project worth an estimated 303.074 million rupees. The company had started its work in November last year. Though work related to soiling, graveling, installing sub-base on the runway, taxiway and apron have been completed, black-topping has yet to be done.
Saptari Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairperson Arun Pradhan expressed concern about the sluggish work progress. “The project was supposed to be completed two months ago. This is a matter of concern,” he said, also seeking renovation of various other derelict structures at the airport.
Former president of Saptari District Development Committee Sachindra Yadav also sought early completion of the upgradation work. Engineer Jitendra Yadav of the contractor company admitted the delay. “There has been a delay in the completion of the project, but a host of issues from bandhs, strikes and the likes to elections prevented us from completing the work on time,” he argued, adding the present weather was not suitable to start black-topping of the runway.
“As now the temperature is just around 10 to 12, black-topping done now won’t be durable, so we are thinking of postponing the task for some time,” he said and pledged to complete the project by April next year.
The then industry minister Ganeshman Singh back in 1960 had inaugurated the airport in Bishnupur Rural Municipality.
A version of this article appears in print on December 28, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.