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Doubts Over Completion of Gautam Buddha International Airport

The constructions at Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa might not be completed even in 2019, reports The Kathmandu Post.

The details:

  • The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had awarded Rs. 6.22 billion project to China’s Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Group.
  • The project was to be completed by December 2017 meaning that by now the airport should have been able to handle at least 16 domestic and 6 international flights.
  • But only 35 percent of the work has been completed till now.

Backstory:

  • The project was initially delayed to June 2018 after the country faced a shortage of fuel and building materials following months-long Tarai banda in 2015.
  • Then contractor disputes stalled the works for around 7 months from mid-March to October, 2017.
  • Though the work resumed in October, the construction has not been able to move ahead swiftly and considering the resources being used currently, the work will not be completed even by 2019.

Also:

  • The airport project chief Om Sharma said that the performance of Chinese contractor has improved since it changed its management following dispute.
  • But Asian Development Bank (ADB), the project’s main financier is not happy with the progress.
  • At one time ADB had said that it will not be able to finance the project further after its initial deadline ended in December, 2017. Though reports say ADB is happy with the current pace.

By the numbers:

  • For this project, ADB has provided $58.50 million ($42.75 in loans and $15.75 million in grants).
  • The Opec Fund for International Development (OFID) has provided a $15 million in loan.
  • CAAN has decided to bear the rest of the cost as counterpart funding.

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