In a major decision pertaining to the proposed Nijgadh International Airport, the concerned committee in the Upper House called on for a fresh Detailed Project Report (DPR) to proceed with the project.
The National Concern and Coordination Committee of the House made this recommendation after a detailed on-field study of the project.
The Committee asked the Tourism Ministry to come up with the new DPR within the ongoing fiscal year i.e. before July 2018, to proceed with the further process.
However, experts disagree with the Committee’s proposal terming that as ‘waste of time and money’, considering the government’s existing commitments and lessons from the past experiences.
According to them, the government already is still due to reimburse NPR 700 million to the Korea-based Landmark Worldwide Company (LMW) for its Detailed Feasibility Study (DFS) submitted in August 2011.
Experts opine that DFS is already a detailed document for the project’s potential and helps in complete investment decision-making, approval and planning.
Whereas, DPR is the study that lays path for further implementation of the project in terms of costs and benefits, among other internal factors.
But the real challenge is a DPR prepared by one organization cannot be used by the other. That’s where the experts say it’s of no use in preparing a new DPR by the government.
“Obviously, there will be need of the DPR but not one prepared by the government. The firm who will get the project will prepare the DPR on its own as per international practice. Hence, the Nijgadh Airport’s DPR is a waste of money,” says a source from the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).
In its recommendations, the Committee also raised urged not to cut-down trees for project construction and asked the ministry to plan compensatory plantation with strict enforcement in all places where they are chopped down.
So far, more than 2.4 million trees have been cut down to build the airport.
The Ministry was also directed to ensure that the land allocated for construction lies in the name of the project.
Overall, the committee urged the government not to delay the airport construction beyond the set deadlines.