Rumjatar folks prefer to travel by land

Okhaldhunga, December 29

No flights have been operated in Rumjatar airport for the past three years after construction of a motorable bridge over the Sunkoshi River.

People here prefer to travel via the land route after construction of the bridge as air travel is comparatively costly. Constructed around 55 years ago, regular flights were conducted at the airport for 51 years. The airport runway was blacktopped three years ago.

Local hotelier Maniraj Shrestha said people visited the airport only to take ‘selfies’. Locals had hoped that the airport would come into operation after the runway was black-topped. But no flights have been conducted at the airport after 2015. A team of Nepali Army and Nepal Police has been deployed for the security of the airport.

Former District Development Committee Chair Mahesh Kumar Kormocha said people had to wait for a month to buy air tickets until 10 years back to travel to and from Rumjatar airport. “Many people used to buy tickets paying double the normal fare. But, now, planes have stopped coming due to lack of passengers,” Kormocha added.

The length of the black-topped runway is 580 metres while its width is 20 metres. The black-topping cost Rs 30.39 million.

Earlier, employees of government and non-government organisations, political leaders, and locals preferred the air route to travel from Okhaldhunga to the Tarai and capital. But, now the situation has changed.

Construction of a motorable bridge over the Sunkoshi River and black-topping of the road have shortened travel time between Kathmandu and Okhaldhunga. So people prefer to travel via land route, said the locals.