Single functioning airport in far-west

Dadeldhura, January 18

Though there are as many as ten airports in the far-west region, only one of them is operational. Eight out of nine districts have airports in the region.

“All the airports have necessary land and physical infrastructure, but none of the airports except for the one in Kailali is in operation,” said Chief District Officer Yam Prasad Subedi of Achham, adding,” In fact, local political leaders and businesspersons have frequently called the state authorities to bring the airports into operation, but in vain.”

At least one or two flights a week would bring great relief to the people here, Subedi said.

Doti Chief District Officer Yagyaraj Bohara also rued the state’s apathy towards the people of the region. “Though we’ve long heard of the government allocating around Rs 20 million to make Dipayal airport operable, the amount hasn’t reached us so far,” Bohara said.

In Baitadi, then tourism minister Lokendra Bista Magar had given some hope to the local folks when he flew to Patan Airport which was shut since the Maoist conflict. He had pledged to bring the airport back into operation. “As he had pledged, we were hopeful to see the airport put to use, but there have been no preparations for the same so far,” said Chief District Officer Lila Bahadur Adhikari of Baitadi.

As for Bajhang, Nepal Airlines was operating its flights to and from Chianpur until last year. “Though erratic, NA’s flights were running until the airlines decided to stop its flights for lack of aircraft,” said Chief District Officer Hiralal Chaudhary of Bajhang.

Dhangadi airport is the only operational airport in the region.