A dispute over land compensation has been settled, paving the way for the construction of the long-delayed regional international airport in Pokhara.
A joint meeting of the Airport Construction High-Level Facilitation Committee and Public Concern Committee on Saturday decided to distribute land compensation in line with a field report submitted by a technical committee.
Land plots at Rs 2 million per ropani by the government are likely to cost Rs 2.9 million now, depending on their types.
“We have arranged a one-door system for compensation distribution,” said Krishna Bahadur Raut, chief district officer and coordinator of the Compensation Fixation Committee. “After land owners submit applications, the compensation amount will be deposited in their bank accounts.”
Meanwhile, Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan), said China Exim Bank has approved “loan application” proposed by the Nepal government. The bank has agreed to extend a $215.96 million soft loan to the government to develop the national pride project.
The ministry last November had asked the Chinese bank for funding after the Cabinet gave its go-ahead for the development of the project on October 27, 2014. The airport will be built at Chinnedanda, 3km east of the existing domestic airport .
The government plans to start the construction by February. On May 22, Caan had awarded the construction contract to China CAMC Engineering.
The airport will be built under the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) model. An EPC contract binds the contractor to deliver the project at a stipulated time at the predetermined price regardless of any increase in costs that the contractor may incur after the contract is signed.
Caan had invited bids for the project on February 9, 2012. The airport project has been on hold since July 2012 after the lowest bidder China CAMC quoted a price of $305 million, 85 percent higher than the government’s estimate. The government had expected the project to cost around $166 million. In January 2013, China CAMC wrote to the Tourism Ministry expressing its willingness to build the project at the government-estimated cost.
In 1975, the government had acquired more than 3,106 ropanis of land for the planned airport . As per the feasibility report, the airport will accommodate medium category jets like the Boeing 757 and the Airbus 320.