HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Though the sub-committee has submitted its report regarding the final evaluation of the tender process of the Pokhara Regional International Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) board has failed to approve and disclose the report.
“We are not in a condition to approve and release the report,” said an official at CAAN. “The issue regarding the selection of the company now is beyond our jurisdiction, and the decision can only be made through diplomatic channels,” said the official.
The sub-committee formed under the coordination of joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ranjan Krishna Aryal had submitted the report on August 17 but the CAAN board has failed to approve the report. According to sources, the project can now only be handed over through a top-level decision.
The CAAN board repeatedly organised a series of meetings to finalise the issue but failed to reach a conclusion, states the source. Along with the delay in starting the project, locals of Pokhara have started a series of protest programmes demanding an immediate approval of the project.
The locals have also sent a memorandum to prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai urging him to start the construction of the airport at the earliest. Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Pokhara chapter, along with locals have been staging protest programmes on the issue.
Three different Chinese companies — CWT Company, Sino Hydro Corporation, and CAMC –– had applied for the tender of the Regional International Airport in Pokhara at $ 349 million, $ 337 million and $ 305 million, respectively.
CAAN had announced tender at a maximum bidding amount of $ 170 million and selected CAMC at $ 305 million bid amount. The workers’ union at CAAN protested the board’s decision to award the project to CAMC because its bid was higher than the maximum bid that CAAN had announced.
However, the ministry claims that the selected bid amount is not the final cost of the project, as the selected firm has to go through negotiations before the project is finalised. The board, after protests from workers’ union, had formed an evaluation committee but failed to finalise the project approval.