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German firm qualifies to build Nijgadh Airport



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By Modnath Dhakal

Kathmandu, Sept. 24 : Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) has shortlisted a German Company Zurich Airport International AG to develop the International Airport in Nijgadh of Bara district in Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
The IBN’s 40th meeting chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Monday shortlisted Zurich among the seven companies that had submitted the letter of interest to develop the airport that would be one of the largest in the region.
“Seven companies from Nepal, China, India and France had shown interest in developing the infrastructure project but the German firm has met all the technical, financial and experience criteria set by the government,” said Maha Prasad Adhikari, Chief Executive Officer of the IBN.
The project was showcased during the Nepal Investment Summit 2019, organised in March this year.
However, the decision made by IBN on Monday does not award the project to the company as the former has only shortlisted it and the latter need to submit the detail proposal regarding the development of the facility.
Adhikari said that Zurich Airport International would have 100 days time to submit the detailed proposal for the project development, and a technical committee would study the proposal. Approval from the technical committee will give a ‘go ahead’ to the company.
The Nijgadh International Airport is the largest infrastructure project in the country so far. According to the primary estimates, the government has put the cost of the airport at Rs. 693 billion. But the IBN said that the cost may vary according to the phases of development and required facilities.
A Korean consulting firm Landmark Worldwide (LMW) had conducted a detailed feasibility study in 2010 and proposed to build the airport in BOOT (Built Own Operate Transfer) model. However, the government later decided to develop it in the PPP model.
Qatar had also shown interest in constructing the airport. During the visit of President Bidya Devi Bhandari, it had proposed to develop it through the government to government contract. Meanwhile, the project is pushed into controversy due to the need to cut down a large number of trees which had provoked ire in the part of the environment activists.
The IBN had also shortlisted Indian firm SJVN Limited, Nepali Hydropower Investment and Development Company Limited’s joint-venture with Power Construction Corporation of China Ltd, and Nepali Green Resources Pvt. Ltd.’s joint-venture with Electric Power Development Company Japan for the development of the 679 MW Lower Arun Hydroelectricity Project.
SJVN is developing 900 MW Arun III which is export-oriented peaking Run-of-River project in Shankhuwasabha district of State 1. It is developing the 1.4 billion US Dollars project in BOOT model and the facility will come to Nepal government after 25 years.
Likewise, the meeting decided to form a committee led by the Finance Minister to develop a transport management master plan for the Kathmandu Valley by integrating all the previous studies conducted in the area. It also shortlisted China Communication Construction Company for the construction of Kathmandu Outer Ring Road Project in PPP model.
PM Oli directed the concerned ministry and agencies to submit an integrated and detailed plan for the transport management in the valley.
“The ministries should create greater coordination and cooperation in facilitating the investors. All projects must be completed on time,” he said.