The civil works of the regional international airport in Pokhara will pick up speed after the monsoon, the project office under the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (Caan) said.
A technical team of China CAMC Engineering, the contractor for the project, is currently in Pokhara to conduct preparatory work. The team started discussing and coordinating with stakeholders on Friday.
The 13-member group led by CAMC project manager Yang Gerry will carry out preparatory work before starting the construction work.
Pradeep Adhikari, chief engineer of the project, said that the boundary of the land occupied by the project will be determined and other necessary surveys will be done.
Yang said they would operate out of a temporary office and coordinate with the stakeholders including Caan and locals. “Human resources and equipment will also be brought,” he added. The Chinese team said that it was at the final phase of designing the project and a draft had already been prepared.
After Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli laid the foundation stone for the construction of the airport last April, the project began moving ahead. The $215.96 million (Rs22 billion) project is expected to be completed by July 2020.
The regional international airport at Chinnedanda, 3 km east of Pokhara’s domestic airport, has remained on the drawing board for decades.
In 1975, the government acquired more than 3,106 ropanis of land to build the airport. Subsequently, the project was put on the back burner. During Prime Minister Oli’s visit to China last March, the government signed a $215.96 million loan deal with China EXIM Bank to build the new facility. The credit request followed the Cabinet’s go-ahead in October 2014 to construct the project with Chinese funding.
The bank has agreed to provide 25 percent of the loan without interest. The government will have to pay 2 percent interest per annum on the rest of the loan. The loan repayment period is 20 years, including a seven-year grace period when no interest will be charged.
As per the feasibility report, the airport, which will be spread over 200 hectares, will have a 2,500-metre-long and 45-metre-wide runway. It will accommodate medium category jets like the Boeing 757 and Airbus 320.
Source: The Kathmandu Post