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Nijgadh airport becomes more uncertain with Zurich delaying proposal

Kathmandu, September 23

The government’s plan to construct an international airport in Nijgadh of southern Nepal has become more uncertain as a foreign company selected to prepare its construction modality has delayed sending its proposal.

The project was already controversial with environmentalists protesting the idea of building a mega airport destroying the habitat of hundreds of flora and fauna. With the company’s delayed response, the plan is unlikely to materialise anytime soon.

Amidst an investment summit in 2018, the government had assigned Switzerland’s Zurich International Airport to construct the airport. It was asked to prepare and submit a proposal by the end of March 2020. Owing to the coronavirus crisis, the deadline was extended by six months.

With just one week to go before the extended deadline, the company has not communicated when it will submit the proposal.

Government officials, however, claim the Swiss company has not yet pulled out of the project as it might still send its proposal in the remaining one week.

An official of the Investment Board Nepal, which looks after big development projects with foreign investments, says the board and the Swiss company are communicating on different mediums, but a concrete proposal is not presented yet.

Pradeep Adhikari, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal’s National Pride Project Chief, however, says the board has not updated the authority about any development regarding the project.

Some officials of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation also hope the government can decide to make the airport on its own if foreign companies are not interested to invest.

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