A beginning for something better in Nepal; Pokhra Airport

Ms. Prem Kumari Pant

Ed. The Weekly Mirror nepal

The laying of the foundation stone of the Pokhara Regional International Airport (PRIA) last week indeed marks something very profound.

Firstly, it symbolizes the start of the realization of all the agreements inked with China during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oil’s recent visit there. Secondly, the very move is expected to go a long way in the socio-economic development of the western development region as the PRIA is designated as a national priority project. Pokahara is one of the most sought-after tourist destination in South Asia and about 60 percent of the tourists who visit Nepal go to this lake city and spend more than a week there.

When the PRIA embarks upon international flights, foreign tourists will no longer need to take detour from Kathmandu. Taking this fact into account, hotel entrepreneurs in Pokhara are making a huge investment in big hotels and other tourism- related infrastructures to accommodate the inflow of bigger number of tourists.

So, the international airport in this valley can also well insert a whole new momentum to the growth of the country’s tourism industry as a whole.

The PRIA will be the second regional international airport after Gautam 8uddha Regional International Airport which is scheduled to complete within two year.

China’s,CAMC is undertaking the construction of: the PRIA under the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and the government has already acquired 3,106 ropanis of land at Chhinnedanda. Additional 629 ropanis of land will also be acquired for the airport to be built by 2020.

To financially assist the Rs. 21 billion PRIA, the Axim Bank of China will provide 75 percent of the total cost at two percent interest rate. Similarly, the Chinese government has made a generous commitment to float the i as a loan without interest. Once the airport comes into operation, big aircraft like BoeIng 757 and Airbus 320 can land t it. This will also facilitate a large number of the people of Pradesh No. 4 to migrate for overseas jobs.

In our country, there are very few records of the smooth and timely completion of development projects. Such anomaly has much to do with the lethargic as well as corrupt mentality of those associated with government mechanisms.

As a large quantity of construction materials have to be brought from India, any further disruptions in Nepal-India trade could mar the project. The possible chaos in Madhes is also equally threatening to its smooth construction works.

Such being the case, it behoves the Nepali political leaders to go for a cross-party understanding for the smooth development of an ambitious national priority project like the PRIA.

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