The Government of Nepal and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a formal agreement regarding upgradation of the Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa on Monday.
Amid a function at the Finance Ministry, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Finance Madhu Kumar Marasini and ADB Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama as well as Acharya Karma Sangbo Sherpa, vice-chairpersom of Lumbini Development Trust, and Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Director General Ratish Chandra Lal Suman inked the agreement to this effect. The project is expected to be completed by June 30, 2017.
As per the agreement, the ADB will provide additional loan and grant assistance of USD 33 million to the Nepal government for the implementation of the South Asian Tourism Infrastructure Development Project (SATIDP). The CAAN will bear USD 17 million for the project. The ADB had earlier agreed to provide USD 45 million for the project.
Joint Secretary Marasini told Republica following the agreement that this would help to boost the tourism in Lumbini. He informed that the total estimated cost of the project is USD 97.21 million, in which the ADB is providing USD 58.5 million–USD 42.75 million in loan and USD 15.75 million as grant. OPEC fund will provide additional USD 15 million.
“After the completion of the upgradation works, GBA will also serve as an alternative international air transport point for Nepal in the event of poor weather conditions or in case natural calamity shuts down Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA),” Marasini added.
Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) will be fully responsible for implementation of the project. The CAAN will invest the amount for the improvement of Gautam Buddha Airport and infrastructure development of Bhairahawa.
The Lumbini Development Trust will be responsible for the destination improvement including clean public transport, Marasini said.
While lauding ADB´s assistance for the project, Joint Secretary Marasini expressed appreciation to the ADB and expressed confidence that this would help to boost up the tourism sector in Nepal.
In addition to helping increase the number of visitors to Lumbini from the traditional markets of India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, the up gradation is expected to increase the number of visitors from China, Japan, and South Korea, among others.
Date: 19 May, 2014