LETTERS: TIA has made progress

When I first read the letter from David Lumb “Unwelcoming airport” (THT, April 25, Page 8) whose ranting about the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), for fairness sake, I sincerely felt the urge to defend the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

I had been to Nepal eight times in the past 20 years, and this is my ninth trip. And honestly speaking, I see very significant progress over the years. Firstly, there are helpful staff assisting those travellers on the standalone passport scanning station. I saw how some tourists fumbled with the machine and I was queuing behind. Prior to this, I still remembered that foreign tourists had to patiently queue up to go through the visa on arrival procedure all manually done. These stations are a major advancement by itself and help to cut the waiting time. And I had the good opportunity to witness such drastic improvement.

Secondly, the private taxis plying between the airport and the city are all in good condition as compared to those decrepit old four-wheelers years ago. And purchasing airport taxi ticket is orderly now without those black-marketeers harassing the new arrivals. Yes, indeed, I do agree that bright and clear signage can be very helpful to visitors.

No doubt, the airport infrastructure greeting the tourists is still very much the same old building, but what most tourists are not aware of is that safety is the priority in managing an airport. And as far it is concerned, what is most crucial is the runway.

Last but not least, may I remind my fellow tourists that once you make a decision to travel to a lesser developed country, don’t judge a country by what you see at the airport. Instead, one should feel warmth and sincerity of the people. This would certainly make your trip enjoyable and memorable.

Hong Kit Chan, Singapore

Master plan

Nepal and the entire Buddhist community celebrated 2562nd Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima on April 30 this year. It’s the same day when the apostle of peace, Lord Buddha, who is also known as the Light of Asia, was born in Lumbini, where the government organised a two-day grand function in the presence of monks, nuns and scholars from all over the world.

However, organising a one- or two-day showbiz is not enough. The government must take sincere initiatives to complete the Lumbini Master Plan, prepared by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, way back in 1978. Lumbini can attract millions of religious and other tourists every year if the Master Plan is completed along with other infrastructure. It is frustrating to see that the Master Plan is in a state of limbo for the last 40 years.

Other archaeological and religious sites related to Buddha and his preaching should also be linked with Lumbini to promote Buddhism and religious tourism. Buddha Jayanti should not be merely a ritual as has been happening for years.

Pratik Shrestha, Buddhanagar