Govt plan to develop TIA as boutique airport in limbo after minister’s death

File image: Tribhuvan International Airport

Kathmandu, March 11

The government plan to develop the sole international airport of the country, Tribhuvan International Airport, as a boutique airport has been pushed into limbo owing to the sudden death of Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari.

Adhikari was killed in a helicopter crash in Taplejung district of eastern Nepal around two weeks ago. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has not designated the responsibility to anyone after the death. The Ministry has a state minister though.

Few days before the accident, Minister Adhikari had forwarded a proposal to the Cabinet, seeking approval to sign a contract without calling for tenders for various construction works at the airport as he had less than two months before the announced mid April deadline for the ’boutique’ modification. Prime Minister Oli not only rejected the proposal, but also transferred tourism secretary over the issue.

Therefore, the airport will not be turned into the boutique airport by mid April, according to officials of the ministry.

The government has estimated that around Rs 450 million would be spent in the project.

Meanwhile, the government is preparing to assign Munich Airport of Germany for the management of under construction Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa as per  Adhikari’s plan, according to sources.

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