Private sector reiterates demand on Pokhara int'l airport
KATHMANDU, Aug 17: Private sector has reiterated its demand on the government to finalize a deal with EXIM Bank of China by August 20 for the construction of regional international airport in Pokhara.
The call came just days after people, organizations and groups in favour of the project handed over a memmorandum to the prime minister and unveiled series of protests to press the government to start the construction as soon as possible.
"We appeal the government to speed up the process to make a final decision within the due time," said Ananda Raj Mulmi, former president of FNCCI and member of the pressure group. He claimed the EXIM Bank of China had given an ultimatum to come up with a decision by Augist 20 if it wants soft loan.
CAMC, a Chinese company was the lowest bidder among the applicants, and pledged to build the airport at the cost of US $305 million.
The government has finalized the bidding process for the construction of the airport. "The EXIM Bank has agreed to provide soft loan for construction of the airport," Mulmi said at an interaction organized by FNCCI on Friday.
Different umbrella organizations of the private sector including Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Nepal Association of Tour and Travels Agents (NATTA), Restaurant and Bar Association Nepal (REBAN), Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) have jointly urged the government to make a decision about the airport.
“We request the government to finalize everything and make a decision as soon as possible so that the project won´t go in vain,” Bhaskar Raj Rajkarnikar, senior vice-president of FNCCI, said.
The pressure group has announced that it will picket Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) office in Pokhara, stop the sale of air tickets of Pokhara sector for a day and stage protest at the gate of domestic airport to press its demand.
Accusing staffs of the CAAN that they were against the project in Pokhara, Raj Kaji Gurung, coordinator of the pressure group, said that a negative message would spread in international community if we couldn´t develop the airport. “The CAAN has no moral ground to say that the cost of construction is high since no authentic cost estimation study has been conducted so far,” Gurung said.
Private sector representatives have said the development of international airport is not only for Pokhara but it would make a larger impact in the national economy.
“The government should give attention to the project as soon as possible since it will have great impact on the national economy,” Bindu Thapa, first vice-president of Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.