Pokhara airport loans at risk if Three Gorges backtracks: Pun
KATHMANDU, April 3: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun on Tuesday said Nepal´s chances of getting Chinese loans for Pokhara International Airport could fade if Three Gorges backtracked from the West Seti Project.
Pun expressed the view while interacting with a group formed to exert pressure for the development of regional international airport in Pokhara.
“Chinese Exim Bank was almost certain to pledge us the soft loans for the development of regional international airport in Pokhara. But we are facing new difficulties after involvement of Three Gorges in 750-MW West Seti drew criticism,” said Pun.
Taking to the group members that included media persons, representatives of various political parties, chambers of commerce and industries, transport entrepreneurs and civil society members, Pun said both the projects were equally important for Nepal, and the government was committed to complete both of them.
“We are sincerely working towards making both the projects a reality although there have been few glitches regarding investment,” he stated.
The airport lobby came to the capital to push the government on the construction of the international airport in Pokhara. During the interaction, the they appreciated the finance minister´s effort for the project.
However, concerned officials at the Ministry of Finance ridiculed the Minister´s statement and tagged his attempt to create a positive public posture towards MoU by linking loans on airport with Three Gorges involvement in West Seti as ´irresponsible´ move.
“China is a responsible development partner and understands the sensitivity of affairs in Nepal. It has not even hinted that soft loan for Pokhara Airport is tied up with the fate of Three Gorges in West Seti. Hence, expression of such statement by the minister reflects nothing but immaturity,” said a senior MoF official.