Here comes a fresh update on Nepal’s most-awaited Nijgadh International Airport project!
In a latest move, Qatar Government approached Nepal Government pitching for the construction of mega international airport in Nijgadh as a move to strengthen Nepal’s position in Southeast Asia.
As the reports say, the Government of Qatar has put forth the proposal estimated worth USD 1.2 billion for airport construction. According to the Tourism Ministry officials, the two governments are holding talks about this airport project, which has been under discussions since more than two decades.
Although no proposals were signed yet, the two sides are expecting some productive output through the discussions underway.
“The issue has been discussed at the highest levels. We have dispatched necessary documents regarding the current status of the project to the Qatar government through its embassy here,” said an official from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.
Another official from the Tourism Ministry said the discussion is in the preliminary stage with no financial modality yet.
“Since the discussion is in its preliminary phase, the financial modality is not clear yet. It could be a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model or something else. If things go as planned, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli may visit Qatar in April-May to sign the agreement,” adds the official.
However, the official confirmed that the project could go under a government-government deal.
“But one thing is clear: the government may award the project through a government-to-government deal,” reads the official’s statement.
The construction of Nijgadh International Airport has been in news for years and the first decision in this regard was taken in 1995 as one of the country’s prestigious projects.
However, the project has been postponed due to various reasons such as environmental clearances, delays in bidding, legal and financial issues, among others.
According to the officials, the government is not even interested to award this project to any of the foreign investors.
Malaysian Government had also made a proposal in January 2016 for taking up the project.
“We would like to propose developing the project under the Design, Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (DFBOT) model. The Malaysian Government will form a consortium of financially strong, well experienced and capable companies to develop and manage the Nijgadh airport,” said the Malaysian Government in its statement to Nepal Tourism Ministry.
Even the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had also agreed to build the project, which also failed. Despite several attempts, the project implementation did not go ahead over the years.
Again, after the formation of Oli Government, the project came to limelight again with the Tourism Minister Rabindranath Adhikari calling for the development of the proposed airport as a major transit hub to and from Europe and the United States.
Now, the government is due to submit the Detailed Project Report by the end of the current fiscal year. Will have to see what turn the proposed airport project will take next!